Taking a strong view of the recent incident of rape of two minor girls, Tamil Nadu government on Thursday announced new guidelines for running hostels to ensure safety and security for girl students, teenage girls and working women across the state.

The new guidelines makes it mandatory for hostels to install CCTV camera, digital video recorder and appointment of women wardens for every 50 girls in a hostel, round-the-clock security guards and separate and habitable rooms, in case of a co-ed hostel, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in a statement.

Laying down infrastructure requirements for running hostels for women with a total of 23 guidelines, she said concerned government officials would approve the hostel infrastructure if it qualified the recommendations.

District administrations would prepare a list of retired police officials, ex-servicemen and Home Guards to help hostel managements to hire them as security guards.

The warden can be appointed only after checking his or her history of professions and the person produced a conduct certificate from local police. In addition, the particular person’s mental and physical health needed to have been certified by government hospitals.

The new guidelines also bring all these hostels under the supervision of Collectors in all districts, with each one of them maintaining a separate register with details of these hostels. The respective district police would ensure these hostels are visited at least once a month.

The guidelines also require district administration to organise awareness camps, upload details of these hostels with contact number of security men to these hostels, to create awareness of ‘Child Helpline 1098.’

All homes and hostels for girl students, teenage girls and working women run by government, non-governmental organisations, associations, trusts, religious institutions, schools, colleges, training institutes, factories and companies run by organisations and individuals, would immediately be brought under the purview of these guidelines, the statement said.

Listing out details of the new guidelines, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, boys and girls should be accommodated in different rooms, in case there were no separate buildings for them.

In case the hostels had multiple entries, all of them should be manned by security guards. At any point of time, security guards should be present in the hostel. These guards should remain in rooms given to them near the entry and not allowed inside the hostel with girls.

All inmates in the hostel should be counted every night and their entry and exit from the hostel should be recorded in a register. The inmates should be sent only with parents or with persons the parents had permitted.

Hostel wardens and security guards should not allow outsiders and visitors to enter the hostel premises. Both hostel wardens and security guards should be given a photo identity cards and their contact numbers should be displayed prominently in the entry of every hostel.

Parents and guardians should also be given photo identity cards and the same should be produced when they come to visit the inmates of the hostel.

Security guards working in hostels run by non governmental organisations should be paid on par with their counterparts working in government hostels.

Tamil Nadu government’s announcement of these new guidelines for running girls’ hostels comes in the wake of the recent rape of two minor girls near Pollachi, who were pulled out of their hostel without securitymen in the wee hours by unidentified men.

The Chief Minister, who announced a solatium of Rs. 3 lakh to each of the family of survivors, framed the new guidelines after holding a meeting with senior ministers and officials from concerned departments.

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