Chennai, November 18: Facilities for the protection of women and children in railway stations have received positive feedback from passengers, said Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials.
More than a year after the inauguration of the all-women facilitation centre in Egmore and Chennai Central railway stations, authorities claim that the situation has improved.“I have observed that women have started complaining and talking about their grievances. Earlier, this was not the case. That itself is a progress,” said G. Prabhakar, Station Director of the Egmore railway station.
The women’s facilitation centres are guarded by collectors in the morning and security officials deployed by the Government Railway Police (GRP) at night. It is a 24-hour functioning centre which provides a separate room for breast feeding purposes.
“Around 10 to 15 people come here every day mostly for feeding babies. Also, if women passengers need any help in case of bag misplacement, booking cabs for transportation etc, they come here,” said Vishali, Senior Ticket Examiner. Currently the railway stations are equipped with battery cars and wheel chairs for passengers with physical problems.
“In the women’s facilitation centre, we also take care of the needs of the elderly and physically challenged. But we are thinking of establishing an exclusive centre for the physically challenged. For that, we need the space and the resources,” said G. Prabhakar, Station Director, Egmore
Owing to the changes in the train timings implemented from November 1, the officials have been instructed to inform senior citizens and physically challenged passengers about the revised timings. Ticket collectors personally reach out to them.
However, cases of mobile thefts and bag-lifting are on the rise inside the trains, according to P. Kalaiselvi, Police Inspector, Tambaram who is currently in-charge of the Egmore RPF station. Passengers’ constant use and casual handling of mobile phones made it easier for pickpockets to snatch them away when they boarded a train, said the Inspector.
“Complaints related to women harassment are very rare in this station. There is police surveillance in moving trains to provide assistance. Sometimes, we get complaints about ticket checkers being rude to passengers,” continued the Inspector.
1000th mother felicitated in Women's facilitation centre at Chennai Egmore station 🍼🍰🚂 pic.twitter.com/oCKBZOK4qV
— DRM Chennai (@DrmChennai) June 9, 2017
The stations also have Childline centres, which are run by the Childline India Foundation and adopted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. They were set up in Egmore and Central stations in 2015. They claim to have rescued 1148 children from Central and 559 from Egmore in the year 2016.
Click here to know more about Childline centres in Indian railway stations: https://youtu.be/oDb3qMZTMzo
“Mostly run-away children, missing children and children who are transported to other states in the promise of jobs are found in railway stations,” said Arunmozhi, Senior Programme Coordinator, Childline India Foundation. Pointing out that there is only a limited number of staff for rescuing and rehabilitating children, Arunmozhi said, “It is very difficult to cover all the 16 platforms in a large station like Central with just 12 members.” Childline centres have been set up in 40 railway stations across the country. 1098, the Childline number connects children in need to the respective central departments.
Infantina Raffeal, a corporate official and a daily passenger, said, “The ladies compartments in suburban trains are well maintained and safe. However, I have heard of cases of phones being snatched away from outside the window and that is quite scary”.
The video here talks about the different facilities such as the baby feeding room at the All Women Passenger Facilitation Centre which was set up in Chennai Central following the frequent harassment incidents reported in railway stations by women passengers.