In an order dated 24.08.2018, the Ministry of Railways has recommended setting up of “short stay shelters” and “child help desks” to house vulnerable children “who come in contact with the railways.” The proposed shelters are planned in five cities across India — Delhi, Danapur, Samastipur, Ahmedabad and Guwahati.
“Guwahati is a hub for child trafficking — many cases come up every day. In fact, in Rangia, a lady trafficker was apprehended just last month by us,” says Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer, Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR). Between January and July 2018, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has arrested 9 traffickers, and rescued 33 children. In the same time period, rescue cases other than trafficking amount to 411.
“The shelter will house both these categories of children,” says Sharma adding that the project is in a very nascent stage right now. “We have to look for a place, It could be within the premises of the Guwahati Railway station or maybe a quarter in the vicinity. The Divisional Railway Manager Lumding will be handling this,” he says. The NFR has five divisions and the Guwahati Railway Station falls under the Lumding Division.
According to the statement, each shelter would be 2,000 sq feet and will accommodate upto 25 children and will provide immediate relief to the child through basic services such as “nutrition, pyscho-social support, and medical aid in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act and the POCSO (Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences) Act.” For the same, the Railway Women Welfare Organisation (RWWO) will partner with child-centric NGOs, nominated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.