GUWAHATI, March 2 � The Railway Board has asked the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to comply with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for protection of children which provides for setting up of Child Protection Committees and Children�s Assistance Centres at all major train stations, among other steps.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the Railway Board recently sent a directive to the NFR to ensure compliance with the SOP.
�As per the SOP, Child Protection Committees (CPCs) will have to be constituted at all major railway stations. The station manager or station superintendent will be the nodal officer and the senior GRP/RPF officials, TTEs and others will be its members. The CPC will be responsible for setting up and ensuring a mechanism for care and protection of children in and around a railway station,� an official said.
The CPC will function as the nodal authority for provision of child protection issues at the railway station level.
�In addition, the SOP also provides for establishment of Children Assistance Centre (CAC) at major stations. The CAC should have adequate arrangement for food, temporary shelter, clothing, toilet, first-aid and medicines and they will be manned round-the-clock and have one female member from Railways to man the centres,� he said.
As per the SOP, the Additional General Manager will be the nodal officer at the zonal level while the nodal officer at the divisional level will be the Additional Divisional Railway Manager. The Assistant Manager (Commercial) will be the first contact person on behalf of the Railway Board.
The Railway authorities will work with other stakeholders like passengers, coolies, vendors, taxi drivers and NGOs for the purpose of ensuring protection of children and operation of the centres.
Regular records including time of receiving and discharge of kids, their personal details and daily summary have to be maintained and station-level CPC meetings have to be held on a monthly basis.
The SOP also has drawn up intervention protocols for RPF/GRP and TTE/TC staff with regard to large groups of children boarding trains either unaccompanied or with only one or two adults.
�There have been numerous instances of child trafficking, kids being used for begging and such incidents in recent years and the SOP is meant to eliminate such practices and safeguard the children,� the official said.
It is noteworthy that the Delhi High Court, following a writ petition, had last year given certain directives to the Indian Railways to act for safeguarding children�s rights.