India is the second most populous country in the world and home to over 21 million people with various disabilities. These people come from poor to marginalised socio-economic backgrounds and are highly dependent on public transport, including railway stations, for their commute. Railway stations serve as a major commute medium for these disabled travellers who travel throughout the country and locally on a daily basis. Yet there is a lack of better facilities in public places to assist people with disabilities to travel independently.
Standard Chartered Bank is partnering with Anuprayaas and Samarthanam Trust for making 30 Railway stations across India accessible for people with disabilities by providing a host of facilities. This is under the Bank’s “Seeing is Believing” CSR initiative which tackles avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
This project aims to aid people with visual disabilities, people using wheelchairs, and people with hearing disabilities to travel independently and with dignity by reducing their dependency on others while travelling.
The facilities which will be provided include:
– Guiding Braille indicators at platforms and railings to identify platform numbers and facilities.
– Braille General Signs for facilities like a male-female toilet.
– Reflective strips at stairs for people with low vision
– Braille Maps of the station
– Braille information booklets at the Enquiry counters
– QR code to watch the video about the station in sign language
– Portable ramp & wheelchair to board the divyang coach.
Though Thane station will be the first to be ready, all facilities will be made available at these 30 railway stations by 1 April 2022. Some of the major railway stations to be covered under this project are Egmore Chennai, Bandra, Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Mathura, Agra, Secunderabad and Jaipur.
Commenting on this initiative, Karuna Bhatia, Head of Sustainability, India, Standard Chartered Bank, said, “Making railway stations accessible for people with disabilities is a positive step in our journey towards being an inclusive organisation. We always strive to bring the Bank’s here for good brand promise to life by working towards affecting a real change and this is one such programme. While there is still a long way to go, this project under our Seeing is Believing initiative, reaffirms our commitment to increasing accessibility and dismantling barriers for people with disabilities.’’
Pancham Cajla, Founder Anuprayaas said, “Accessibility in public places is the basic requirement for ensuring inclusion and equality for people with disability in society. We thank Standard Chartered Bank for taking this initiative that supports dignity for people with disability and makes travel safe for them.”
Mahantesh G K, Founder Managing Trustee at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled said, “We extend our thanks to Standard Chartered Bank for selecting us as an NGO partner to implement the initiative towards creating accessible Railway Stations for People with Disabilities in 30 Railway Stations across 16 States in India. This support will enable People with Disabilities to travel independently with safety, security, and dignity.”
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