Finish retrofitting works before Dec 3: PwDs to CMRL

Ensuring the Metro stations are inclusive for everyone, including the Persons with Disability (PwDs), the Madras High Court in June 2022 allotted six weeks for the CMRL to make stations barrier-free.
A wheel-chair user at the ticket counter in Ekkattuthangal Metro station
A wheel-chair user at the ticket counter in Ekkattuthangal Metro station

CHENNAI: As the retrofitting works for barrier-free Metro stations are still underway, several activists and members of associations working in the disability field, have urged the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) to complete the work before December 3, the day observed as International Day of People with Disabilities.

Ensuring the Metro stations are inclusive for everyone, including the Persons with Disability (PwDs), the Madras High Court in June 2022 allotted six weeks for the 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 PwDs 2016.

According to PwDs and activists, hand rails have been installed at many stations along with ramps, elevating the ticket counters at stations, levelling the uneven ramps and so on. Additionally, several members inspected the newly installed ticket counter at the Ekkattuthangal Metro station, which activists claim will act as a prototype for setting inclusive ticket counters at all stations.

Sudha Ramamoorthy, member of Disability Rights Alliance (DRA), who also 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. The CMRL has taken the inputs we 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 also inspected the counter said, “The counter is suitable for person of my height or even shorter, which is helpful. Meanwhile, I’ve 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 urge the CMRL to wrap up the retrofitting work before December 3.

“There’s 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 co-efficient so that users can use it efficiently. Keeping all this under consideration, we’ve urged CMRL to finish work before December 3,” added Sudha.

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