'Amend laws to punish child labour employers'

'Amend laws to punish child labour employers'

District administration celebrates World Day Against Child Labour

Child Welfare Committee Chairperson Asha Nayak has said that assessment of the age of a child labour who was caught by the officials during a raid is a farce. Most of the time the age gets manipulated at the hospital by the owners who had employed them.

Speaking at World Day Against Child Labour organised jointly by the district Legal Services Authority, district administration, District Child Labour Project Society here on Wednesday, she said that though the central government employees are made to take a declaration that they will not employ child labourers in their houses, majority of the declarations are not implemented in true spirit. “We have found child labourers being employed by several officials in their house during raids. Inspite of it, they were not punished and they have been allowed to go scot free,” she added.

Stating that there was a need to bring in minor changes to the existing laws, she said that even the owners who employ child labourers should be arrested. There was a need to have transparent working system in the society to check the evils of child labour.

She called upon the public to come forward and inform the CWC or child helpline on the incidents of child abuse in the society, so as to rehabilitate them and bring them back to the mainstream of the society.

District and Sessions Judge Chowdapurkar Arun said that poverty is the main reason for child labour system in the society. If laws are implemented effectively, then the social evil of child labour system can be eradicated completely. There is a need to identify child labourers working in hazardous units, and admit them back to schools, so as to rehabilitate them.

Zilla Panchayat CEO Dr K N Vijayaprakash has said that there was a need to work towards making the district free from child labour system. Students should create awareness on ill effects of child labour system in the society. According to a survey conducted by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Dakshina Kannada district has lowest school dropout rate in the state. This is attributed to the high standard of living, increase in literacy rate and awareness among the people. All the department agencies should work in coordination to eradicate the system.

In his introductory remarks, Assistant Labour Commissioner Nagesh has said that Asia continent has highest child labourers in the world. There are over 2 crore child labourers in India. About 55 per cent of child labourers are boys. “From 26 cases registered by the labour department, we have collected Rs 5.20 lakh as fine from the owners employing child labourers. Though a school was opened to admit child labourers in the district, it was closed down following lack of children in 2004,” he added.

Child labour speaks

Geetha, a native of Chitradurga was once a child labour working in a house in Mangalore and is now pursuing her PUC education. Sharing her views, she said “it was my father who brought me to Mangalore and made me to work as a domestic help in a house. I was assaulted and tortured by the owners. I was made to work till midnight. I had attempted to commit suicide by consuming poison. However, I was saved. I decided to run away from the house and one fine day sought the help of the police to rehabilitate me. The police enrolled me at Prajna Counselling Centre and now I stay in a Fit institution.”

The students from different colleges in and around Mangalore took out a jatha on the occasion.

ZP CEO also read out an oath not to employ child labourers, on the occasion. Deputy Commissioner N Prakash, MCC Joint Commissioner Srikanth Rao, Bar Association President Ashok Ariga, Principal senior civil judge J N Subramanya and others were present.