BENGALURU: In line with the Railway Board’s policy to have child-friendly spaces at major railway stations in India, the first such space for Karnataka will make its debut this weekend at KSR Railway Station. It has been readied on Platform 1 with finishing touches being given.
Called ‘Kushi Hub’, the 600 sqft space has been handed over by Railways to the anti-trafficking unit of Railway Protection Force (RPF), ‘Nanhe Farishtey’ as well as NGOs Child Line India and International Justice Mission to make it a safe place for children. Installed with CCTV cameras, it will be monitored 24x7 with staff present throughout with easy access to it from the third entry.
“Toys, books, pantry, toilets and good seating are among the facilities that will be provided here. A key objective behind it is to provide a positive environment and healthy space for children which would make them feel at home and open up about the troubles they are facing,” a source added.
At present, children rescued at railway stations are taken to the station master’s room or any spare room available as they cannot be taken to a police station, another source said. “These are usually small, dingy rooms and do not put any kid at ease,” the source elaborated.
Alok Kumar, Inspector General and Principal Chief Security Commissioner, RPF, South Western Railway said, “It will mark SWR’s first dedicated space for counselling children rescued by RPF, including victims of child trafficking. It is a great initiative for proving pscyho-social support and counselling to children in need of care and protection who come in contact with Railways.” According to data supplied by RPF, 581 children were rescued in 2021 with 304 of them being victims of trafficking.