With several children losing their parents during the first and second wave of the Covid pandemic, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has formulated a plan to protect Covid orphans, its Director General Arun Kumar said on Friday.
Addressing a press conference here, he said that the force has formulated a special plan "Reach out, secure and rehabilitate" for protecting Covid orphans.
"RPF has initiated a drive to identify children in distress at stations or in trains or in nearby towns or villages or hospitals orphaned due to Covid," he said, adding that the RPF personnel have been sensitised to provide special attention to the children impacted due to the spread of Covid-19.
He said that one nodal RPF personnel for each child is responsible from the time the child is secured to the time of his or her rehabilitation.
Kumar also said that in the last three years, the RPF has rescued more than 56,318 children, while 976 children have been rescued by the force from traffickers in the same period. He also said that the force has registered 22,835 cases between 2019 to May 2021 of left over luggage containing items valued Rs 37.13 crore restored to rightful owners.
He also said that a total of 37,275 genuine security related calls in last two years (2019-20) received on All India Railway Security Helpline 182 and redressed.
The RPF DG said that induction of women in large number in the force has given impetus to the Indian Railway's efforts to improve women security.
"Recruitment of 10,568 vacancies in RPF was completed in 2019. After CBT, PET/PMT, document verification, medical examination and police verification, recruitment was concluded. The percentage of women in RPF prior to recruitment was three per cent (2,312), post recruitment, it is nine per cent (6,242). RPF is the central force having highest share of women in its ranks," he said.
He also said that 'Meri Saheli' initiative launched by the RPF from October 17 last year across railway zones has given focused attention to women travelling alone in long distance trains.
"A team of young lady RPF personnel interact with them at originating station, and en route till the terminating station," he said.
Highlighting the works on improving the security of women passengers, Kumar said: "Security of female passengers has been upgraded by RPF by formation of Special Lady Squads like Bhairvi, Virangna, Shakti. Escorting of all ladies special trains in metro cities and local trains by RPF is being ensured."
He said that focused deployment during late night and early morning local trains, and gender sensitisation or passenger awareness programmes are carried out regularly.
Kumar also said that Railway Flood Relief Team (RFRT) - an RPF disaster relief initiative has been launched for reaching out and providing succour to passengers stranded in trains due to flooding. He said that this team can carry water, food, medicines etc.