With the rampant misuse of coaches meant for the persons with disabilities by the police personnel and members of public, this decision of the commission should bring in some check on the misuse of the facility. Also the order highlights the need of awareness and sensitization campaigns amongst police officials and general public.
Here goes the coverage in Times of India:
Nitasha Natu, Sep 20, 2013,
MUMBAI: The state commission for persons with disabilities has instructed the railways to install CCTVs in coaches reserved for disabled and appoint a special officer to redress their grievances.
The order was passed by the Pune-based commission earlier this month in connection with a complaint filed by Nitin Gaikwad, a graphics designer from Ghatkopar. A graphics designer, Gaikwad had complained of plain-clothes policemen travelling in handicapped coaches with alarming frequency and bullying those who attempted to object.
"I had clicked photographs and videos of rogue cops and presented it before the commission," Gaikwad told TOI.
His counsel, Jayesh Tanna, added, "Once CCTVs are installed, the grabs will provide have great evidentiary value." Both, Gaikwad and Tanna are differently abled and got acquainted with each other on local trains. In April, they entered their complaint against Central Railway, the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) with the state commission. The commission has ordered the railways to create a separate waiting area or seating area for disabled commuters at each railway station. The order adds that old suburban rakes also be fitted with public announcement systems to give information about the next scheduled halt of the train.
"Strict action needs to be taken against cops and illegal travellers in coaches reserved for the disabled and the prosecution statistics should be put up on pamphlets on platforms and inside compartments. Awareness and sensitization campaigns for cops and the public need to be carried out. Personnel handling railway helplines need to be instructed to attend to calls received from disabled commuters on a priority basis," the order stated.
In their response to the commission, the RPF stated that 40 cops had been arrested since 2012 and Rs 13,600 collected in fines for illegal travel in coaches for the disabled. The RPF also said they had intimated the Mumbai police chief about the menace and that all calls received on the railway helpline (1275) are recorded for monitoring.
"There's a great risk to life and safety of disabled commuters while boarding/alighting at Kalyan, Dombivali, Thane and Ghatkopar stations. The coaches are packed beyond capacity with unauthorized travellers. We are often shoved and pushed around, verbally abused and manhandled. An acquaintance of mine had an accident as a result, adding to his disability. The commission's order should bring some relief," Gaikwad said.
Prosecution against illegal travel in coaches for disabled (Central Railway)
Year 2012 (Jan to Dec)
Fines: Rs 20.31 lakh
Year 2013 (Jan to April)
Fines: Rs 8.03 lakh
Read from Source..... Times of India