Deepak N, a regular Bengaluru-Davanagere commuter, recently shed light on the lack of disabled and elderly-friendly infrastructure at the Kengeri Station.

Kengeri Railway StationKengeri Railway Station. Photo by LittleT889/Wiki Commons
news Public transport Wednesday, July 07, 2021 - 13:28

Bengaluru’s Kengeri Railway Station is used by hundreds of people to commute in and out of Bengaluru city every day due to its affordability and convenience. However, it is not accessible to everyone. Deepak N, a regular Bengaluru-Davanagere commuter, recently shed light on the lack of disabled and elderly-friendly infrastructure at the Kengeri Station. The Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Bengaluru and the South Western Railway, also responded to the matter on Twitter.

Deepak tweeted a video from the Kengeri Railway Station in which a passenger with disability spoke about the difficulty in using the foot over bridges which are not conducive to everybody. “I'm surprised to see that Kengeri railway station doesn't have lift/escalator which is very crucial for PWDs and senior citizens. I hereby request @PiyushGoyal sir to spend some time on this issue and get it resolved. @NammaRailways @SWRRLY @GMSWR plz help to get safest commute for all (sic),” the tweet read.

While waiting to board his train, Deepak observed a lot of people, including the elderly, crossing the railway tracks directly to get to other platforms, instead of using the bridges. “It gets very difficult for older people to climb so many stairs. My main concern were the persons with disabilities for whom it gets very difficult, almost impossible in some cases. It will be very beneficial to have facilities like accessible wheelchairs, lifts, escalators or ramps for people with disabilities and elderly passengers. The passenger who spoke in the video mentioned that the wheelchair users are obstructed by halted trains and usually there are no support staff to help passengers with the same,” he told TNM. 

The tweet received a response from the South Western Railways, who directed the DRM Bengaluru to look into the concern. “Bengaluru division has taken steps for the proposal of lifts/escalators at Kengeri Rly Station. Keeping in view the footfall at the station for divyangjan and senior citizens, wheelchairs are available with the on-duty staff for interchange of platforms using the trolley path.”

“I did get a response and I have asked for the mentioned proposal to be shared so that we get a clear idea of what action is being taken. I will pursue this further,” said Deepak.

The Kengeri Railway Station is not the only major one within city limits with accessibility issues.  Rajkumar Dugar, activist and convenor of Citizens for Citizens (C4C), said that a city like Bengaluru, which has a lot of railway stations needs to have the basic amenities for all people before they are made functional. The Cantonment Railway Station, for instance, is one of the oldest in the city, and has not been developed to cater to senior citizens and persons with disabilities. With only foot-over-bridges at the west end of the platform, it lacks functional lifts, escalators or ramps. “Most people choose to cross over the tracks which is highly dangerous,” Rajkumar said. Another example he cited was the Yeshwanthpur Railway Station, which does not have support staff at all times to help people access facilities like wheelchairs.

“You can’t have a person going to a railway station today and looking at steps and thinking how can he manage this. It shouldn’t be a challenge; it is everyone’s right to have equal accessibility. It needs to be looked into at the divisional level and the needful has to be done at the earliest,” he said.

Rajkumar added that assurances such as the one by the DRM on Twitter have been given for concerns that were raised previously but have not been acted on further. “It’s better if assurances are given with timelines so that they carry more weightage. Otherwise, the situation is most likely to remain unchanged,” Rajkumar said.

When contacted for a response on the incident specific to Kengeri Railway Station, DRM of Bengaluru Ashok Kumar Verma stated that his office has carried out the necessary communication and the matter is being looked into.

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