Parliamentary standing committee receives complaints on inadequate accessibility, safety and amenities

Among the grievances expressed by the public during the meeting organised by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways on Saturday was the inadequate accessibility and amenities for physically-challenged women.

Nandi Yellaiah, one of the members of the standing committee, said several complaints regarding inadequate safety for women commuters were brought to their notice at the meeting.

The committee would submit the suggestions received to the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, he said.

P. Simmachandran, general secretary, Federation of Tamil Nadu Differently-Abled Associations, said in many suburban railway stations, the platforms were paved with tiles. People using crutches find it difficult to alight from the coaches as these tiles were slippery, leading to injuries, he said. Also, ramps were not available in all the suburban railway stations.

Amba Salelkar of Inclusive Planet, Centre for Disability, Law and Policy, who participated in the meeting, said women with disabilities faced several problems in railway stations, right from accessibility to safety. The problems were amplified at the MRTS stations on the Beach–Velachery section, she said.

In addition to the poor accessibility, the lack of security at the MRTS stations led to women with disabilities hesitating to take the trains. They also had to contend with men misbehaving under the pretext of helping them. Several such incidents had been brought to her notice, she said.

There is no real mechanism for women to register complaints against harassment, she added.

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