Kolkata’s Sealdah railway station, a transit point for trafficked kids, was today declared a child-friendly one.
Children will now be safe at the station that currently boasts of a dedicated 24/7 assistance booth for helping children in distress and a patrolling team to rescue those trafficked.
“The Railways have agreed to make 20 railway stations in India child-friendly ones, out of which three are in West Bengal. Sealdah is the first one in the state where we have starting implementing the standard operating protocol for protection of children,” Rajib Haldar of Child In Need Institute (CINI) said.
After Sealdah, New Jalpaiguri station in north Bengal would also be declared as a child friendly one next month.
The West Bengal government has provided a grant of about Rs 20 lakh to help CINI implement the project.
The Railways have given them a plot of land near the station where rescued children would be given shelter.
Haldar said they had the capacity to accommodate 50 children and provide them all basic facilities like day and night shelter, food, health, education and counseling.
CINI staff are also training TTEs, vendors, hawkers, porters and others to ensure a safety net for children inside the station.
“This can be a first model in India if implemented properly,” Shashi Panja, West Bengal Minister of State for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, said.