CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board along with Childline India Foundation has launched a 24-hour emergency child helpline for the benefit of residents of resettlement colonies at Okkiyam Thuraipakkam and Kannagi Nagar here.
Speaking to Express, R Palaniswamy, Managing Director of TNSCB, said that the facility was launched in accordance with decisions taken during a Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply meeting held in October 2014. "More than 20,000 families reside in these settlements.
Provision of helpline facility is in line with our aim of improving education and basic amenities accessible to the people which will help better their livelihood," said Palaniswamy.
The helpline would cover neighbouring areas including Guindy, Uthandi, St Thomas Mount, Meenambakkam, Sholinganallur and another resettlement area in Semmencheri.
Children contacting the 24/7 helpline would be provided counselling and immediate medical care while children at risk would be referred to Child Welfare Committee for further follow-up.
Meanwhile, Vanessa Peter, independent policy researcher, Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC), whose report on Kannagi Nagar's children at risk prompted the State government to commit to the action, said that in the resettlement colonies, preventing children from taking to anti-social way of life was a tough task.
"The helpline is expected to provide support. The number of vulnerable children in Kannagi Nagar and other resettlement areas is high and there is a need for an awareness campaign about the helpline," she said.
The helpline will be manned by volunteers of Community Health Education Society (CHES) who have deputed teams across the city to attend to distress calls. A separate team within Kannagi Nagar has been set up, said V S Valavan, Programme Manager, CHES.