India’s first railway station that is visually impaired friendly is now in Mysuru, Karnataka. The railway authorities, in association with ‘Anuprayaas’
, an NGO working for the welfare of visually challenged persons, have installed Braille enabled signage(writing system used by people who are blind), framed tactile maps and train schedule boards for the benefit of visually impaired people at the main railway station. With this, South Western Railways (SWR) has become the first among Indian Railways to introduce such facilities. In addition, railway authorities have also put up 400 metal signages in Braille along the railings of the staircases to give directions and platform information. Moreover, the canteens and the food plaza at the station also have their menu in Braille.
Before being inaugurated, visually impaired persons were asked to check out the features and give their response.
“The first time I went to the railway station, I found it confusing. But after spending some time I could figure out the instructions. The next time I go I am sure I will not have to ask another person for information,” said visually impaired Divakar. The 27-year-old Pancham Cajla, founder of Anuprayaa, said:
“Sympathising with blind people is like wanting them to depend on you for longer and that is a sadistic mentality. Instead, we should work on how to make them feel independent.”
The work to make the railway station blind-friendly started a month ago and the next two phases of the project are also in the pipeline. In phase II of the project
, the NGO plans to go digital and improvise the tactile map and also, plans to introduce battery cars. Braille is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by visually impaired people. Braille is not a language, instead it is a code by which many languages may be written and read.