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Capital junction wins wheels down

Ask and you will find, well almost. Ranchi Junction has four wheelchairs, ramps at the end of all its five platforms and May I Help You kiosks.

Visiting senior citizens, patients and the disabled who don’t expect such consideration in the state capital will be pleasantly surprised. The only A-category station under Ranchi division, South Eastern Railway, seems to have its heart in the right place.

The platforms may not always be clean, the electronic train alert may not work every time. And no doubt, 30 uniformed porters for 50,000-60,000 daily passengers is a ratio that defies reason. Plus, the ongoing platform No. 1 revamp is messy and will remain so for a month-and-a-half.

But, if you need a wheelchair that moves without squeaking, just contact the stationmaster’s office on platform No. 1.

Chances are, though wheelchairs are mostly engaged, more so due to platform No. 1 undergoing revamp, you will still get one quickly. Attendants at the stationmaster’s office are also prompt if asked for a wheelchair.

You or your companion can get wheeled out of a platform or reach another on the ramps. No jerks over tracks or on cratered roads connecting one platform to another allowed. No need to stand in front of steps leading to a footbridge and wonder what to do.

Station manager H.K. Pandey said the four wheelchairs were “in good condition”.

“So far, we haven’t received any complaint. Besides the four available at the stationmaster’s chamber, there are two more kept safely and they can be brought at short notice whenever required,” he said.

On how one can procure the service, Pandey said they needed some form of surety to ensure that the wheelchair was not misplaced.

“We don’t take cash,” he said. “We take copies of valid ID documents. Most often, we take the accompanying coolie’s billa (ID number) to hold him accountable for the safe return of the wheelchair,” he said.

All is not hunky-dory, though. With only 30 coolies at present, finding one may be a chancy business.


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