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Despite raids by Labour Welfare dept,children still exploited as cheap workers

At the age when most children dream of books in their hands,some children are either making tea at road-side stalls,washing utensils at dhabas,restaurants or doing various other odd-jobs.

Written by Hema Thakur | Chandigarh |
January 19, 2012 4:41:59 am

At the age when most children dream of books in their hands,some children are either making tea at road-side stalls,washing utensils at dhabas,restaurants or doing various other odd-jobs.

The practice of child labour is still prevalent in the city. A number of children below the age of 14 can be spotted in the markets working at shops,dabhas and tea stalls. According to available data,Labour Welfare Department has conducted 648 raids between January 1 to November 11,2011. Out of which 23 cases were registered for violation of the Labour Act. Meanwhile,10 cases were prosecuted under the Child labour Prohibition & Regulation Act,1986.

Usually,the children are offspring of migrant workers,shunted by their families or belong to economically weaker sections. With a lack of knowledge about their rights,these children are being exploited.

Suraj (12),assisting a local trader,told Newsline that he usually reaches work at eight in the morning and returns home around seven in the evening. He said that there were no fixed working hours. Govind (12) who works at a tea stall said that his job involved serving tea to the customers,washing cups and making tea. “I usually work for more than eight hours a day and earn Rs 2,500 per month. Some time it gets very hectic,” he added.

Another child labourer,Mukesh Singh from Rai Bareli said that he came to the city three month ago and is working at a flower shop. He gets Rs 2,000 as emolument for his work.

Child labour is prohibited in India under the Child labour (Prohibition & Regulation Act) 1986. In case,any person employs a child below the age of 14 years,the employer is liable for punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine,extending from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000,or both.

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