The child labour action week started by the Punjab government all over the state hardly resulted in any changes on the ground. As per data from the labour office of Ludhiana, the three teams formed to rescue children from factories, homes, dhabas and shops freed 49 children in the whole week.
Five children, who were hidden under cloth bales, were rescued from Jairath Appearances on Sunday. However, no legal action has been initiated against a single employer of child labourers and children too were handed over to the parents or guardians without verifying their credentials.
On the first two days of the action week, Monday and Tuesday, the three teams did not even have official vehicles to conduct raids. Therefore, the raids started after 3 pm on two days. While 26 children have been rescued from factories and hosiery shops by the team formed under deputy director (factories) Jatinder Bhatti, 23 were rescued from homes, shops and dhabas by two teams formed under assistant labour commissioners Gurjant Singh Brar and Baljit Singh.
However, not a single FIR has been registered against any employer.
On Sunday, the factory wing team raided Jairath Appearances factory in Sunder Nagar. “No one opened gate for five minutes. We were shocked to see that owner had hidden children under bales of clothes. They were rushed to Civil Hospital for check-up,” said Dinesh, from NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, part of the task force.
On Saturday, four children were rescued from Vidhata Industries of plywood on GT road. While the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, recommends instant registration of an FIR against employer, the administration only issued challans without booking a single employer in all 49 cases.