1,335 child labourers in district

32.5 per cent of them are from Scheduled Tribe Communities

1,335 child labourers in district

As the district administration celebrates yet another World Day Against Child Labour, hundreds of children across the district will be serving tea in tea-shops, working in garages and will be subject to abuse and harassment in few industries of the district.

Though Karnataka aimed to be a ‘Child Labour Free’ State by 2007 and then extended it to 2011, child labourers continue to be hired in the district.

According to Mallikarjuna H P, Project Director of National Child Labour Project, in a survey commissioned by the district administration during 2011-12, as many as 1,335 children were found to be employed as labourers.

But, ‘Section 17’ inspectors, comprising officials from the departments of Labour,  Revenue, Public Instruction and others, have found only eight instances of child labour in the district, during raids conducted by them from January to May 2013. Cases were registered in all eight instances of which two were disposed and the guilty were fined.

Statistics

According to the survey, there were 938 boys and 397 girls employed as child labourers in the district.

The instances of child labour were highest in Nanjangud taluk, with as many as 370 child labourers.

“Since Nanjangud has many industries, and per capita income of the people in the region is less, children of daily wage labourers often end up as child labourers,” he said.

Drop outs from schools have also contributed to the number of child labourers.

Surprisingly, K R Nagar, according to the survey did not have any child labourers. According to the survey Mysore city has 265 child labourers; Mysore Hunsur - 230; H D Kote - 91; Periyapatna - 32; T Narsipur - 83.

32 per cent tribals

Of all the child labourers identified in the survey, 434 of them (32.5 per cent) belonged to Scheduled Tribes. Children belonging to SC community numbered 229, while 246 of them were from minority communities.

Children being employed in hazardous occupations amounted to 15 per cent of the child labourers.

Hazardous jobs include working in chemical factories, colour dye manufacturing units, quarries and others, which adversely affect health of the children.

S Sreekanth, convenor of DEED, Hunsur said that though the number of child labourers have declined in the district, societal issues would continue to contribute to child labourers in the district.  “Andhra Pradesh had declared that a child out of school is a child labourer. Such a declaration in the state can contribute significantly to reduce the number of child labourers,” he said.

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