Physically challenged train passengers at Lalmonirhat railway station have been suffering a lot for long as the flat entrance to the station platform, especially built for them, was kept locked for four years, thanks to the authorities indifferent to the nuisance.
Instead, the ramp, which lies to the south of the main entrance of the station, is being used as a parking space for motorcycles of railway staff and outsiders, said locals.
Stationmaster Nizam Uddin said, the entrance for the challenged people has been kept locked so that railway staff and outsiders cannot park their motorcycles here.
“If any attendant of a physically challenged passenger calls me, I unlock the entrance to the station platform,” he said.
Noor Amin, 45, a physically challenged passenger from Barakhata village in Hatibandha upazila, said he travells in train three days in every week.
“I have to face difficulty while climbing three stairs of the main entrance to the platform. Finding no other way, I have to use it as the entrance for the physically challenged people is always locked,” said Amin.
Another physically challenged passenger Atiar Rahman, 55, of Patgram upazila, said “It is our right to use the entrance made for us but we are being deprived.”
The ramp for physically challenged people was built in 2011 and remained open till 2015. The stationmaster built a mini gate in the entrance in 2016 and locked it for stopping movement of motorcycles, said Ala Uddin, 52, a resident of the station area.
Another resident Nur Islam, 42, of the area, said “I use a portion of the entrance for physically challenged people as motorcycle parking as it is always locked.”
Asked where the three wheelchairs allocated for helping physically challenged train passengers to enter the station platform using the entrance, the stationmaster said those are in the storeroom but he failed to show the wheelchairs.
Lalmonirhat Railway Divisional Traffic Superintendent (DTS) Shawkat Jamil said he was not aware about the matter but it is not right to keep the entrance for physically challenged train passengers locked.
He further said necessary steps will be taken if the stationmaster fails to show the allocated wheelchairs.
The DTS also assured of reopening the entrance soon.