In January 2014, Monika More, an 18-year-old resident of Mumbai lost both her hands when she slipped into the gap between the platform and the ladies compartment footboard of a local train at Ghatkopar railway station.
Two years after recuperating from the near-fatal accident, Monika is working hard to ensure that no commuter has to face something like this again. She has been continuously involved in raising awareness about railway safety measures along with the Railway Police Force.
In her awareness drives, she tries to help commuters understand the perils of boarding a moving train and crossing unmanned railway tracks.
The first year B Com student is the only rail accident victim in a committee of over 15 members. She attends meetings organised by Central Railway officials at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) station to discuss how to improve the quality of service and address passenger woes in local trains. She has also made various proposals regarding the appropriate height of railway platforms, the need for increasing the frequency of trains and making sure that the seats reserved for physically disabled people are not used by the people without disabilities.
“What happened to me should not happen with anyone. I want to keep pursuing the issue of improving our railway system. People should not get scared of boarding a train thinking they might lose a limb or their life,” Monika told The Indian Express.
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Monika was rushed to the KEM Hospital after the accident but her arms couldn’t be surgically reattached. She spent six months recovering in the hospital and was gifted with prosthetic arms manufactured by a German company. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai gave her a compensation of Rs. 23 lakh.
While the electronic limbs enable her to write, eat with special spoons and even use a laptop, it is very difficult for her to wear them for a long period of time because they weigh over a kilo each. Monika was in the news last year for securing 63% in her higher secondary examinations in spite of all these hurdles.
Today, she is steadfast in her resolve to lead a normal life. She wakes up around 7 am after which she goes to SNDT college for her classes. She then returns home for a bit in the afternoons and later heads out to attend tuition classes. But her busy routine has never stopped her from raising awareness about grave issues that affect people using local trains in Mumbai. Her parents are extremely supportive and her mother also accompanies Monika to all the events and meetings. Her father is of the opinion that people are especially receptive to Monika’s inputs because she is a survivor.
Contact her on Facebook here.