The company that UNICEF had hired as an event organiser for its World Children’s Day event at Thyagaraj Stadium on Tuesday said they have completed their probe into how a 13-year-old ended up cleaning a washroom during the event, and that they will be submitting a report on the matter to UNICEF. The Indian Express had Wednesday reported that the boy had been cleaning the washroom and loading and unloading water canisters during the event, attended by UNICEF’s India representative, NCERT’s national director, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and hundreds of children.
An official from the Directorate of Education, which also holds the charge for sports, had said private organisations holding events at the stadium bring in their own housekeeping staff to meet the additional workload during the event.
Indebo, the company that UNICEF had hired to organise the event, confirmed to The Indian Express that they had brought their own housekeeping staff for the event.
A representative from Indebo said the work of hiring ground-level staff is not handled directly by them and is sub-contracted to another company. “We have completed the enquiry from our side and will be preparing a report, which we will submit to UNESCO by day after tomorrow,” the representative said.
A UNICEF spokesperson said their investigation is underway.
“We are trying to understand what happened, how the child got into such a situation, and how we can address this. We are trying to find if there was any slip in our supply chain, and at which point the boy was hired and by whom. If a slip is found, action will be taken since we have a zero tolerance policy. One of our primary concerns is that the boy gets help after the situation that he was in,” said the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, in the basti where the boy lives, residents said recruitment for a day’s job without any checks is commonplace.
“If recruitment is for a few months, supervisors take photocopies of Aadhaar cards. But for a day or two, boys aged 15-16 years often go off,” said Shafique, a resident.