GRP and Railways spar over the maintenance of assistance booth

The hopes of lost or abandoned children on the railway platforms here for help have been dashed to the ground due to the continuous indifference of railway authorities and Government Railway Police to maintain the Child Assistance Booth (CAB).

The CAB on platform no 4 between the GRP and RPF stations has been neglected for a year with the railways failing to appoint a Child Welfare Officer (CWO) to man the booth. Police have rescued 15 children moving suspiciously on platforms and handed over them to their parents in 2013.

Child welfare panels

The indifferent attitude of the Railways is in clear violation of recommendations of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) which proposed that a CAB should be set up at every railway station to provide assistance to lost or abandoned children, to provide them medical aid and legal services in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The NCPCR also directed the railway authorities to appoint Child Welfare Committees with station managers and officers from GRP and RPF to protect child rights

No appointment of CWO

Divisional Railway Manager, SCR Guntur, N.K. Prasad, who inspected the station on January 4, expressed concern over the non-allocation of a CWO in the booth and instructed that a CWO be appointed immediately. The DRM appointed ten committees in Guntur Division recently and ordered the strict implementation of the recommendations of NCPCR.

But even after two days after the DRM’s instructions, no officer was appointed in the booth, also called counselling centre.

The Government Railway Police maintain that the railway administration had not handed over the booth to the police. GRP Circle Inspector P. Sarath Babu, who was also the Child Welfare Committee member, said that the child assistance booth was not in their control. Sub-Inspector G. Srinivasa Rao said the counselling centre was under repair and appealed to the railway officials to renovate the booth.

Hint at action

Superintendent of Railway Police (SRP), Vijayawada Division, Ch. Syam Prasad, said that the Child Assistance Booth was being manned by the GRP and action would be taken against the local staff for neglecting NCPCR’s recommendations.

“Instructions have been given to all Station House Officers to maintain visible policing and appoint staff in Sub-control rooms, child counselling centres and police helpline centres. It is not correct that the Child Assistance Booth, located on Platform No.4 in Guntur Junction is not under GRP control,” the SRP clarified.

Station manager M. Veeranjanyulu said the railway police asked SCR to take up roof and provide electric appliances in the booth, and instructions have been given to complete the works immediately.

More In: Vijayawada