'Child labour grew by 50 per cent in 10 years'

The number of child labourers in urban areas has grown by 50 per cent from 2001 to 2011, said District Principal and Sessions Judge K S Mudgal, here, on Friday.

She was speaking during a programme held to mark International Day Against Child Labour, organised by the Labour department, District Legal Services Authority and other organisations.

The problem of child labour is rampant across the world, with estimates of about 21.5 crore child labourers. Of the child labourers, 11 crore work in hazardous environment. Some parents are forcing their children towards labour. These children are more susceptible to be involved in crime, she said.

Such children are robbed of their constitutional rights. The government should concentrate on these issues and create a conducive atmosphere for the upliftment of such children, she said.

Zilla Panchayat CEO P A Gopal attributed child labour to poverty. Quoting Mysuru as an example, he said, instances of child labour was less in districts were poverty has been eradicated. With the eradication of poverty, drop out ratio of children from schools too has recorded a decline, he said.

Child labour has turned out to be the biggest challenge across the world, which can be eradicated only with the support of the people, opined District Sessions Judge Lakshman F Malavalli.

Speaking at a programme, held as part of International Day Against Child Labour, at J H Patel Auditorium, in Chamarajanagar, on Friday, he said, out of 21.5 crore child labourers, 1.2 crore have been identified in India alone. “Children are the future of the country. The need of the hour is to create awareness on the importance of education among the parents,” he said.

District Labour Officer M R Hemalatha said, parents of child labourers can be punished under law. The department has organised street plays and awareness programmes to eradicate child labour, she said.

According to available statistics, 507 child labourers were rescued in the district since one year and 480 of them have been brought into the mainstream of the society. Till now, 180 cases have been booked under Anti-Child Labour Act, and Rs 1.45 lakh fine has been imposed.

Students of various schools took out a jatha as part of the programme in the city.

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