Expressing solidarity with representatives of differently abled people who have been demonstrating at Chennai complaining neglect by Southern Railway administration since Monday, members of the Erode District Differently Abled Welfare Association staged a dharna in front of the Erode Junction on Tuesday.

The agitation in Erode was to condemn the Southern Railway administration for its failure to fulfil the needs of the differently abled people, S. Durairaj, president of the Erode District Differently Abled Welfare Association said.

The demonstrators asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Railway Ministry, and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to consider their plight and undertake remedial measures to mitigate the difficulties they undergo in boarding the trains by ensuring that the special compartment meant for them is not misused by others co-passengers and railway employees.

Differently abled passengers were subjected to ridicule if they objected to others boarding the special compartment, Mr. Durairaj said.

The demonstrators also drew the attention of the local authorities at the Erode Junction to the long-pending demands. They sought lift facility to reach the platforms, battery cars to take them to the special coaches that were fixed either at the front or rear portion of the trains, replacement of slippery tiles on the platforms, operation of an exclusive unreserved ticket counter all through the day for the convenience of the differently abled, and disabled-friendly lavatories on the platforms and in the front side of the Junction.

They also voiced the need for a separate parking space. Railway police, travelling ticket examiners, and other department officials must monitor the special compartment to prevent its misuse, the demonstrators demanded and sought membership for their representative in the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee.

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