A round-the-clock Child Assistance Booth has been installed at the Tiruchi railway junction to rescue runaway and missing children.
The setting up of the booth is a joint initiative of the Tiruchi Railway Division and two non-governmental organisations, Railway Children India and Sevai.
The railway authorities have given space in a prominent spot on Platform No 1 for the booth at Tiruchi - a major station in Southern Railway zone.
Tiruchi is the fourth railway station in the State where the booth has been established after Villupuram, Salem and Katpadi, said V.S. Valavan, South India programme manager of Railway Children India. The NGo is based at Chennai.
Managed by a team of five members from Sevai, working in shifits, the booth would function round-the-clock at the station. The objective behind setting up the booth was to rescue runaway and missing children and prevent trafficking of minors.
The rescued children would be brought to the booth immediately to make them feel comfortable. Thereafter, the volunteers wouldl attend to their immediate basic needs such as providing food and space for taking rest, said Mr. Valavan.
Minors would feel more comfortable in such environment instead of being taken straight to the police station. The team managing the booth would interact with the rescued children to ascertain their whereabouts and produce minors before the Child Welfare Committee as per the mandated procedure to reunite with their parents, he said.
In many cases, it was found that runaway children preferred train as a mode to get away from their homes since it provided them access to travel to longer destinations, he pointed out.
Railway Children India had plans to set up an open shelter near the central bus stand at Tiruchi as a short stay home for the rescued runaway and missing children, he added.