The country is presently not equipped with enough facilities to support specially-abled people. Whether it is a government building or a public transport, their needs have been ignored. However, efforts are now being made to make public places accessible for people with disability. Recently, Kerala’s Ernakulam became the first railway station to be made completely accessible for disabled people.
The credit for this huge step should go to the 25-year-old Virali Modi who has been fighting for the rights of specially-abled people in Mumbai. Over the past few years, she has been advocating for public places to be made disabled-friendly. She started a campaign called #MyTrainToo which was instrumental in achieving this milestone for Indian Railways.
Virali was invited for the inauguration of the Ernakulum Railway Station. A permanent ramp has been built in the station for wheelchairs. The porters who carry luggage at the railway station have also been trained to help specially-abled people.
As per various reports, electric cars will be made available for specially-abled people. Special seats will be provided in the ‘General’ and ‘AC’ waiting rooms for their convenience. Indian Railways has also promised that restrooms and other facilities will be made available over the next six months. It has further said that disabled-friendly railway stations will be built across the entire state.
Virali, who has been on a wheelchair herself for a while now, had to face many difficulties in railway stations. She was often misbehaved with, and even a porter once tried taking advantage of her disability. This inspired her to start the campaign #MyTrainToo, for which she received immense support from people across the country.
Taking note of Virali’s tweet, the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu assured her in February last year that work will be done in this direction. She says that despite the assurance, it is only Kerala that took this initiative.
In the 2008, Virali was declared clinically dead by American doctors. However, doctors in Mumbai Medical College saved her, and she is now living her life smoothly on a wheelchair. Her life's struggles have inspired Virali to advocate for the rights of specially-abled people.
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