CHENNAI: As the retrofitting works for barrier-free Metro stations are still underway, several members of differently-abled associations and activists have urged the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) to finish the work before December 3, the day observed as International Day of People with Disabilities.
Ensuring Metro stations are inclusive for everyone, including the Persons with Disability (PwDs) the Madras High Court in June allotted six weeks for CMRL to make stations barrier-free.
Since then, the department has been retrofitting all the stations under phase I and also ensuring that the stations under phase II meet the Harmonised Guidelines and space standards for Barrier Free Environment for Persons with Disabilities 2016.
According to PwDs and activists, hand rails have been installed at many stations along with ramps, elevating the ticket counters at stations, leveling the uneven ramps and so on.
Additionally, as part of the retrofitting, several members inspected the newly installed ticket counter at Ekkattuthangal Metro station, which activists claim will act as a prototype for setting inclusive ticket counters at all stations.
Sudha Ramanoorthy, member of Disability Rights Alliance (DRA) who inspected the counter at Ekkattuthangal Metro station on Saturday said, “The new counter is suitable for all persons, both able-bodied, elderly persons and PwDs. CMRL has taken the inputs we have suggested while fitting a similar counter at Arumbakkam Metro station in August to make this one more accessible and inclusive.”
Subsequently, Pandi of December 3 Movement who is of a short stature also inspected the counter and said, “The counter is suitable for person of my height or even shorter, making it inclusive for the condition. Meanwhile I have requested to place the QR code at a flexible height so that PwDs can use it better.”
Meanwhile, as stakeholders claim that the work is still moving at a slower pace than anticipated, they urged the CMRL to wrap up the retrofitting work before December 3.
“There is still a lot more work that needs to be done at stations to make it barrier-free. For instance, the ramp at the station must be made friction coefficient so that users can use it efficiently. Keeping all this under consideration, we have urged CMRL to finish work before December 3,” added Sudha.