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With onus on Child Safety - Northeast Frontier Railway to sensitize all staff and stakeholders

In order to spread awareness across the entire railway system to sensitize railway officials, passengers and other stakeholders o­n the issue of child safety, Chairman Railway Board has directed General Managers of all Zonal Railways to popularise a guidebook for “Creating a Child Friendly and Protective Environment for Children in contact with Railways”. Prepared by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) the guidebook would be popularised by conducting sensitization workshops for officials like Station Master, TTE, RPF, GRP and other commercial and technical railway staff. Secondary stakeholders like coolie/porters, vendors at stations are also to be roped in.

A large number of vulnerable children regularly come in contact with Indian Railways as passengers or as abandoned, trafficked, runaway children from their homes. Missing children travelling in trains and homeless children living at platforms and working in and around the platforms within railway station are also required protection. To address the issue a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was finalised by the Ministry of Railways in consultation with the Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000. This SOP is being implemented successfully at 88 stations throughout Indian Railways.

In accordance with the provisions of the SOP, Northeast Frontier Railway is providing space free of cost at nominated stations for setting up of a Child Help Desk which is to be operated by an NGO approved by the Ministry of Women & Child Development. Childline India Foundation (CIF) is the mother NGO currently managing Childline services and is responsible for identifying NGOs which will run Child Help Desk at railway stations.

In N.F. Railway Child Help Desk is functional at New Jalpaiguri station while it is under progress at Katihar station. Child Welfare Committees for protection of Childs are also functional at stations like Katihar, New Jalpaiguri, Guwahati, Mariani and New Tinsukia stations. More over Childline is active at stations like Katihar, New Jalpaiguri, New Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Kokrajhar, Jalpaiguri road, New Bongaigaon, Rangiya, Guwahati, Lanka, Dimapur, Silchar, Dharmanagar, Agartala, New Tinsukia, Jorhat Town, Dibrugarh Town.

(Pranav Jyoti Sharma)

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