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The N. F. Railway Women Welfare Organization (NFRWWO) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prayas JAC Society to set up and run an Open Shelter for care & protection of vulnerable children at Guwahati Railway station. This would be first of its kind shelter for lost, distressed or destitute children in the Northeast.

Under the scope of the MoU, an Open Shelter has been set up at Platform No.1 (above RPF office) at Guwahati Railway station for providing care and protection to vulnerable children coming in contact with Railways, rescued by Railway Protection Force & Government Railway Police or Child Helpline, Child Help Desk and others concerned at Guwahati Railway Station or at any place adjacent to the railway station.

The Open Shelter will be run o­n 24X7 hour's basis. The shelter has approximately 2000 square feet of accommodation which would be able to accommodate 25 children and would provide basic services such as nutrition, psycho-social support and medical aid etc. It will be used as transit in restoring the children with their families by following the laid down process under Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Prayas JAC Society has also started similar pilot projects at five other railway stations, viz. Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Danapur, Samastipur for care and protection of vulnerable and distressed children coming in contact with the Railways.

The shelter has a Dormitory, a Sick-room, First-Aid Room and 2 Totiets, 2 Bathrooms, Counseling/Office room and o­ne store. o­ne care taker would be provided by NFRWWO to guard the property and look after the assets. All the operational expenditure required for running the Open Shelter and of running the Child Help Desks would be provided by the Prayas JAC Society. Day to day petty maintenance of the building and electricity and water would be provided by NFRWWO.

The Open Shelters will become operational o­nly after all necessary clearances and licenses are obtained by the Prayas JAC Society from concerned Governments and responsibility of day-to-day running the Shelter would be of Prayas JAC Society. However, an 'Oversight Committee' with representation of both the parties to the MoU will be set up by the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Lumding Division to keep an oversight to ensure optimum standards of care and protection at the Shelter. Members of Child Welfare Committee (CWC), District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), concerned Station Master/Station Superintendent, concerned RPF Post In-charge, concerned Inspector, GRP, Assistant Personal officer (APO) and Assistant Engineer (AEN) would be other members of the Oversight Committee. 

(Pranav Jyoti Sharma)

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