Mangaluru: A committee has been formed to declare DK as a child labour free district. To set the criteria, members of the committee held a meeting at PADI, Bendurwell here, on July 29.
The president of the child labour free investigating committee, Renny addressing the members said that before announcing the district as child labour free, Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim formed a 9 member committee to review the present situation. “This is an opportunity for us to set a criteria, without which it is not possible to announce DK as a child labour free district.”
When the president invited suggestions, one of the members said that child begging is on the rise and people from outside the district and state come here, along with their family, and use their children for begging. “We see children begging often at traffic signals in the city. When there are children begging here and there, how can we announce the district as child labour free?”
In response, the Assistant Labour Commissioner Nagesh said that child beggars and children selling fish or other items are not considered as child labourers.
President Renny said that Mangaluru is a fast developing city. People from other districts and states are attracted towards Mangaluru. More and more migrant children are involved in begging, selling articles and other work. “If we allow children to beg or sell items at signals and other places, how can we declare DK as a Child labour free district? We need to be clear in this regard.” He also said that children not attending school upto the age of 14 should be considered as child labourers. In this regard, the education board has a vital role to play.
Responding to the above statement, Geetha, an officer from the Sarvashikshana Abhiyaan, said that teachers in rural areas check details of all the children in the area and if the child does not attend school, they visit the house and convince the parents to send their child to school. “If anyone is involved in child trafficking, they should be severely punished. We need to work towards a child friendly society by eliminating child marriage, child labour and child begging,” she said.
She further said that the Ward Enrollment Registrar (WER) and the Village Enrollment Registrar (VER) should be up to date and maintained by every Gram Panchayat.
In response, Assistant Labour Commissioner Nagesh said that we need to bring awareness by forming committees at gram and taluk panchayat levels. The committee members should randomly visit areas and check for child labourers. They should also check details about migrants – where they come from and what work they do.
He also said that we need to bring awareness among the people in Gram Panchayats as well as at the Taluk level. “Hoardings should be erected in every Gram Panchayat by the Labour Department. While applying for trade license or during renewal, an undertaking should be taken that they will not employ any child labourers in their office, organization or institution. A declaration should also be taken from the presidents of apartment associations in this regard. Anganwadi teachers will help the Gram Panchayat in this regard.”
“A checklist will be prepared and a declaration will be signed by every family that they will not appoint any child labourer. Once we complete the process at the Gram Panchayat level, we will start the process in the city. After the Gram Panchayat will be announced as child labour free, the report will be sent to the Deputy Commissioner. This process will continue every year,” he said.
Director Prajna Counselling Center Hilda Rayappan; social activist Violet Pereira; Health Inspector Nirmala; Labour officer Division 2, Sripath Raj; Labour Officer Division 1, Mahilarappa; District child labour project director Srinivas; Senior labour officers B R Kumar and Ganapathi Hegde were also present.