Rajasthan fares poorly in children's rights

Child labour unchecked in state, reports NCPCR

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Wednesday pulled up the Rajasthan government for laxity in care and protection of children in accordance with law and not controlling the despicable practice of child labour in several parts of the state.

The NCPCR was dissatisfied with the general condition of child rights in Rajasthan.
NCPCR member Dr Yogesh Dube, in his two-day visit to Udaipur recently, met senior officers of the state government to assess the situation of children.

He instructed officers to handle the issues of child labour and children’s protection with more sensitivity and understanding and said he would shortly make recommendations in this regard.

Dube told reporters that he undertook the visit with a specific agenda to confirm the authenticity of adverse reports that he had received about Nari Niketan, anganwadi centres, nutrition centres of ICDS and child labourers in Udaipur district.
In particular, he cited a newspaper report about opium being given to small children of women labourers at work sites.

Child labourers rescued
He said he rescued three child labourers from a brick kiln in Lakarwas area of Bichiwara block in Udaipur and got the owner of the kiln arrested.

“It took two-and-a-half hours for us to get the proceedings against this persons initiated. The brick kiln was illegal and the district administration was surprisingly unaware of it,” he said.

The NCPCR team led by Dube rescued two more child labourers working near the Circuit House in Udaipur and instructed the labour department to take action for their  rehabilitation.

Taking cognisance of the complaints received about child labour rampant in mines, stone quarries and brick kilns, the NCPCR team also visited several places in the district.
Dube said he found a child suffering from high fever and lying unconscious at the rooftop of Amvatta Home in Udaipur. The child was immediately taken to the nearby satellite hospital for treatment.

The situation of children in the home was pathetic and there were no proper clothing and food for them, he said.

During the inspection of Nari Niketan, the team found that children, in conflict with the law and those in need of care and protection, were kept in the same premises. They were locked in a specified area of the home. The girls below the age of 18 years were kept there in violation of the Juvenile Justice Act and a few girls even had newborn babies without vaccination and any special arrangement for infants.

Gross violation
Citing gross violation of law, Dube said male staff was deployed in Nari Niketan and the inmates there were not allowed to meet their parents. The team also interacted with ragpickers’ children in Chitrakoot Nagar of the city and expressed concern about their pathetic condition.

Dube said the NCPCR was shocked over the situation of children in Udaipur district after these unpleasant experiences. In the ICDS nutrition centre and at the lone primary school at Shohagpura in the district, the visiting NCPCR team did not find any growth chart or attendance register.

Toilets were found locked and children were found unloading the bags containing ration meant for mid-day meals from vehicles.

Dube noted that about one lakh children in Udaipur are malnourished, and 40 per cent of all children in the state can be put in this category.

“There is an alarming situation on the front of malnutrition. Equally disturbing is the fact that child labour has not been completely abolished in Rajasthan,” he said.

Dube met senior officers, including the labour commissioner, principal secretaries of home and women and child development departments and officers of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and ICDS to discuss the condition of children. He underlined the need to take prompt, effective and long-term measures for ensuring children’s welfare.

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