BENGALURU: A senior officer of Bengaluru Railway Division is instrumental in ensuring that all children adopted by employees of Indian Railways are treated on par with biological children, to avail of medical facilities in hospital. A 21-year-old rule was amended and an order issued by the Railway Board on May 25 to this effect.
Veena Nayak, a single woman who works as office superintendent in the engineering department of Bengaluru Railway Division, had adopted a boy and girl, now aged 14 and 13 respectively. She took up the cause on behalf of one of her kids in June 2020, and it has borne fruit a year later.
K Asif Hafeez, Senior Divisional Personnel Officer, coordination, South Western Railway, told TNIE, “The issue was brought to our notice by Nayak, when she was not able to procure the Unique Medical Identity Card which we are issuing to all family members of present and past employees, so they can avail of treatment at any railway hospital in the country.” As per rules, only one adopted child is allowed to access facilities free of cost at Railway hospitals, as well as private hospitals empanelled by it, he said.
TNIE has a copy of the new order, which is an amendment of the Board’s order on September 5, 2000. It states, “Stepsons, unmarried step-daughters and legally adopted children subject to age limit prescribed, and provided they are wholly dependent on the railway employee...”
There are 37,000 families across South Western Railway which are covered by hospitals. “It will be a big motivation to railway employees hesitant to adopt more children,” Hafeez said.
Veena Nayak said she is glad she took up the issue. “I was just fighting for the rights of adopted kids. They are no different and should be treated on par with biological kids.”
Top Bengaluru officials were very supportive when she highlighted the issue. Hafeez, posted in Bengaluru earlier, along with former Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Administration, Kalyani Sethuraman and Principal Chief Personnel Officer B G Mallya, are said to have written to the Railway Board and pursued the matter.