Most of them are employed in the jewellery making units

Efforts to eradicate child labour in old city hardly seem to fructify. Authorities have succeeded to some extent in preventing their employment in major markets in this part of the city, but no such achievement is visible in the interior areas.

As one walks through narrow lanes and by-lanes in the migrant dominated areas in Hyderabad, one comes across many children performing various jobs along with adults in tiny houses that double up as workshops. Most of them are below 14 years and hail from other States.

According to the Non-Governmental Organisations, the practice of employing child labour is age old. Apart from local children, those trafficked from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Orissa and Maharashtra are quite high.

The employers pay advance between Rs.10,000 and Rs.30,000 to their parents and bring along the children with them. Besides providing cheap labour, children are preferred as they can be retained for long periods, because they acquire no other skill throughout their childhood, except the work they are taught.

“Neither do the employers face the risk of workers leaving the units mid-way,” says an insider.

Most of the children are employed in jewellery making units in Ghansi Bazaar, Gulzar Houz and Mitti-ka-Sher. A sizeable numbers are also employed in hand embroidery, chappal, safety pin, bangle and candy making units situated in pockets of Asadbabanagar, Suleimannagar, Kishanbagh, Hassannagar, Vattepally, Amannagar and Shaheennagar.

“It is the primary responsibility of the authorities to collect data on workshops that employ children and take preventive action,” says M. A. Hakeem, convenor, India Child Action Network.

A couple of years ago, the police and labour department officials raided a zari unit in Bahadurpura and rescued a few children employed there. “Not much has been done on this front after the Bahadurpura raid. Officials limit their role to raiding big shops and booking cases,” says S. Q. Masood a social worker.

The Labour Department officials said they were unaware of the problem but would look into the issue.

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