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Railways disallows disabled people with general tickets in special coaches

CHENNAI, 18 August: The move by the railways to accommodate physically disabled persons with only reserved tickets in the special coach next to guard's cabin in mail and express trains has not gone down well with passengers.

Earlier, physically disabled persons with general tickets were allowed to travel in the coach, like women are allowed to in the ladies coach' that was attached to the general compartment in long–distance trains.

The railway board took a decision to treat such coaches as sleeper coaches and from August 1 began accommodating only reserved passengers among the physically handicapped in as many as 133 trains under Southern Railway's jurisdiction, said its chief public relations officer A J Accamma. Thus, only four people with reserved tickets are allowed to travel in the special coaches.

The TN Association for the Welfare of the Physically Handicapped (TNAWPH) and the TN Disabled people Graduates and Physically Handicapped Welfare Association have protested against the move and have demanded that the railways scrap the new system and allow handicapped persons with general tickets to travel in the coaches in long–distance trains.

"Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and guards have thrown out several physically disabled persons from the coach stating that they were not holding reserved tickets," said K Gopinath, state deputy general secretary, TNAWPH.

"I was thrown out of the Rockfort Express in Tiruchy because I had only unreserved tickets. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) not only did not allow me to travel but also detained me till the train left the station because I created a ruckus and pulled the chain," said R Thangam, state president, TN Disabled people Graduates and Physically Handicapped Welfare Association.

"If the physically challenged reservation is not utilised or partially utilised, the vacant berths can be used by physically handicapped persons travelling unreserved. If the berths are vacant, physically disabled persons can board the coach with unreserved tickets enroute," Accamma said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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