'Child labour problem challengeto society'

Zilla Panchayat President Upendra Nayak said the child labour problem poses a huge challenge to well being of the society.

Speaking after inaugurating the “World Day against Child Labour” celebrations on Wednesday, ZP President said one can come across, minimal cases of child labourers in Udupi district as the district has highest number of literate populace. However, the fact cannot be ruled out over the continuation of child labour system. There are handful of cases in contrast to other districts. The problems do exist owing to the migratory laborers who do not send their children to schools and instead engage them for labour, he added.
He said if a child gets money and freedom at a younger age, there is high risk of the child being misused or the child opting for a wrong path.

Additional DC Kumar stressed on the need for the community to stand up against the cause to eliminate child labour system. The entire society should join hands to abolish the evil system.

"There was a proposal to increase the age to 16 from 14 years under the definition of child. The proposal was canceled following the opposition from some states. The International Labor Union and Child Rights Commission have a proposal for increasing the age to 18. It is good if the proposal from the international bodies are implemented in India," he said.

ZP CEO Prabhakar Sharma said parents should be held guilty for not sending their kids to schools. They should be punished. Last year as many as five children were admitted to pre-metric hostels and they are continuing with their education. The Government should take stringent measures and make anti child labour campaign as a mandatory programme. Measures should be taken to accommodate the rag pickers in the portals of schools. The children working in houses are missed out from the survey and it is very difficult to detect them. He said Zilla Panchayat in association with district administration will take up the drive to spot the children in slums and construction sites and admit them to schools. The programme needs hyped publicity. There are many seats vacant in the pre metric schools, he added.

Labour department official H Ramachandra said stringent measures against child labour were initiated only after 1995 across the country. Around Rs 8 lakh compensation is collected till date in the district as penal fee. The child labour problem exists in the district owing to the migratory population. However, awareness is being created in the district and there is increase in the degree of awareness level that is being instilled among mass.
Even in hotels, one can come across very less child labourers. Stickers and pamphlets against deploying children for work is distributed all over the district besides wall writing are also done. In 2011-12 around four child labourers were traced out and in 2012-13 three were found which also includes one rag picking child. All kids are sent to Spoorthy Rehabilitation Center in Kedur, he added.

Former child labourers Sharanappa who worked in a juice center and now studying in 9th standard in Spoorthy Rehabilitation Centre and Beeru Saheb who is in 6th standard and were formerly engaged in road repairing works expressed their happiness on being sent to schools. They said they enjoy learning.

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