Sunday, January 8, 2012

Child labour continues unabated in city

It seems that the Akshara Arakshaka launched with much fanfare by district-in-charge minister SA Ramdas has failed to yield the desired results. In sharp contrast to the initiative under which the police were to track and bring back to school the drop-outs, several children are found on streets washing vessels or selling eatables even in the heart of the city.

A reality check by TNIE found children being employed in petrol pumps, footpath vendors, flour-mills, vegetable and fruit markets, tea stall etc in city. Leave alone the rural parts of the district, what's shocking is that the drop-outs are seen even in markets and prominent commercial streets of the city being frequented by foreign nationals.

Several children were seen selling oranges, banana, and vegetables in the busy Devaraja Market, Sayyaji Rao Road. In K T Street, children were seen employed to supply beverages. The situation was no different in residential areas like Kuvempunagar and Agrahara which has more number of literates.

According to Public Instruction Department statistics, only 190 children have been rescued in the whole of Mysore city. The numbers are more or less the same compared to previous years. In Mysore district, 1,215 children have been enrolled to schools after being rescued from various places.

Assistant Labour Commissioner Umesh expressing his helplessness in this regard, said that they can only concentrate children employed in commercial establishments but not those children “helping” their parents or working independently like street vendors etc.

Expressed her anger towards the issue, a government teacher pleading anonymity said “They (public representatives) launch programmes only for the sake of publicity but later won't bother to implement the same effectively. It is not a difficult task for officials to stop child labour. If we venture to advise them not to do, they turn back against us. Its the responsibility of the concerned officials to take initiative to trace children and enroll them to schools.”

Sunanda, a resident of Vidyaranyapuram said: 'I have come across several children working in Fast Food and Chat centers. Officials should work efficiently to such an extent that people should be afraid to place any child for work.'

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