A guidebook, which will serve as a framework document for dealing with the children rescued by the railways, was released by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani here today. The “Guidebook for Creating a Child-Friendly and Protective Environment for Children in Contact with Railways”, developed by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in collaboration with Railway Children India, was launched at an event here, a statement from the national transporter said.
The book would serve as a framework document to develop a child-friendly environment at all the railway stations of the country, it added. “There is a need to protect the children who run away from abusive situations at home or are lost and reach railway platforms, as they are extremely vulnerable to abuse by strangers. The guidebook will fill the gaps in the whole ambit of child protection at railway stations,” NCPCR Chairperson Stuti Kacker said. Emphasising that the issue of care and protection of distressed children needed to be handled with sensitivity, Lohani said there was an urgent need to create mass awareness on this.
“A large-scale awareness campaign to sensitise the entire railway staff and other stake-holders, like porters and vendors at stations, would be launched on June 8, in collaboration with the NCPCR,” he added. Dharmendra Kumar, Director General (RPF), said the Railway Protection Force had rescued nearly 35,000 children in the last four years.
It is estimated that every five minutes, a child arrives alone at a railway station in India. These children are vulnerable and exposed to several risks. It is, therefore, important to strengthen the existing child protection mechanisms at the railway stations, the statement said.