Standard Chartered Bank has joined hands with Anuprayaas and Samarthanam Trust to make a total of 30 railway stations across the country accessible for people with disabilities by providing a host of facilities. The moves come under the Bank's "Seeing is Believing" initiative, tackling visual impairment and avoidable blindness.
This project aims to help individuals with visual disabilities, those using wheelchairs, and people with hearing impairment to travel independently and with dignity by reducing their dependency on others while travelling.
The facilities will include guiding braille indicators at platforms and railings to identify numbers and facilities, reflective strips at stairs for those with low vision, braille general signs for facilities like a male-female toilet, braille maps of the station. In addition, a QR code will be available to watch a video about the station in sign language. Braille information booklets at the enquiry counters will be provided, besides a portable ramp and wheelchair to board the coach.
All facilities will be available at these railway stations by April 1, 2022, with Thane station being the first to get ready.
According to India CSR, some of the major railway stations covered under the project are Agra, Ahmedabad, Bandra, Bhopal, Egmore Chennai, Jaipur, Mathura and Secunderabad.
India is the second-most populous country globally and home to more than 21 million people with various disabilities. These people come from low-income groups to marginalised socio-economic backgrounds and are largely dependent on public transport, including trains. Railway stations serve as a significant commute medium for such travellers who travel throughout the country and locally daily. Yet the country lacks better facilities in public places to assist such people in travelling independently.
Positive Step Towards Inclusion
Hailing the initiative, Karuna Bhatia, Head of Sustainability, India, Standard Chartered Bank, said that the initiative is a positive step towards being an inclusive organisation.
"We always strive to bring the Bank for good brand promise to life by working towards affecting a real change. While there is still a long way to go, this project reaffirms our commitment to increasing accessibility and reducing barriers for people with disabilities," Bhatia said.
Pancham Cajla, Founder Anuprayaas, said: "Accessibility in public places is the basic need to ensure inclusion and equality for individuals with disabilities in society. We thank Standard Chartered Bank for this move that supports dignity for such people and makes travel safe and easy for them."
Mahantesh G K, Founder Managing Trustee at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, said: "We extend our thanks to Standard Chartered Bank for choosing us as an NGO partner to implement the initiative in 30 railway stations across 16 states of the country. This support will enable the specially-abled people to travel independently with dignity, safety and security."
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