Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Child labour a serious matter, needs to be dealt on priority: Rights panel

Mihika Basu : Mumbai, Thu Sep 05 2013, 02:12 hrs

The Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR), while acting on a complaint by an NGO on the difficulties of rescuing children working in factories, said employers and managers of factories/workshops/shops flouting regulations will be booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Juvenile Justice Act.

The NGO had pointed out that rescuing children is difficult because of the lack of cooperation by the police and labour department and the lack of coordination among government departments.

MSCPCR, in its final order, observed that despite the enactment of the Child Labour Prohibition Act, 1986, it is "highly unfortunate" that children are still working in factories. "Children who have been rescued from establishment should be sent to their parental home with the help of NGOs. Follow-up action should be prepared in this regard. Persons who are residing on street, pipeline, under the flyover, should be surveyed separately and their children who are below 14 years, should be admitted to schools," recommended the MSCPCR.

In their complaint, NGO Pratham said "the organisations working in this field, after receiving cold response from government departments, approached the child rights commission with request to take appropriate step in this regard". "The state has failed to curb illegal activities, while taskforce, vigilance cells, labour and police departments all have been given mandate to deal this matter. This matter (child labour) is very serious and needs to be dealt with on a priority basis, after framing detailed action plan in this regard. It is also unfortunate that provisions of various sections as mentioned in the Juvenile Justice Act, 2006, are not being applied by the police and labour department," MSCPCR observed.

Notices were also issued to the labour department and the police with directions of submitting a detailed report in terms of operations conducted for rescuing and rehabilitating children working in factories in Madanpur area here. The hearings were conducted between July 2011 to January 2013.

"In the report submitted by the labour department, it appeared that in and around the Madanpura locality, there are nearly 150 factory units, primarily related to leather work. In the data furnished by the labour department for 2010-11, 272 children were rescued. The report, however, did not say anything regarding rehabilitation of rescued children," said MSCPCR.

A report submitted by the Nagpada police in January this year said 182 cases were registered against employees. The police report too failed to give details regarding rehabilitation, nature of offences and names of offenders.

"Household surveys should be conducted in and around the Madanpura area, including stalls, hotels, restaurants, factories, etc. Workers in the Madanpura area should be identified and their identification should be confirmed from available records, from their place of birth or residence," said the order.



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