Stating that the State was not alive to the magnitude of the problem, she added that programmes like the Rajiv Vidya Mission and those of the departments of education and labour have been able to mitigate the awful conditions of the workers and their children to an extent.

Is the State Government alive to the sheer magnitude of problems of migrant labourers, particularly those working in brick kilns and other areas in the construction industry?

No, if one were to go by what Nina Nayak, member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has to say.

Ms. Nayak, who was on a two-day visit to the State, visited brick kilns at Raviryala village in Maheswaram mandal in Ranga Reddy district.

Describing the conditions of the children of migrant labourers — a majority of whom hailing from Odisha — as “pathetic and painful”, she said it left her shell-shocked.

“The sight of a half-a-dozen little children, all red-haired and visibly malnourished can be unnerving. Makes us think as if we were not living in the 21 century,” Ms. Nayak exclaimed.

Stating that the State was not alive to the magnitude of the problem, she added that programmes like the Rajiv Vidya Mission and those of the departments of education and labour have been able to mitigate the awful conditions of the workers and their children to an extent.

However, the absolute lack of any statistics was adding to the apparent inability of government agencies to do anything concrete to help improve the lot of the poor migrants, especially in ensuring access to education and health, she said.

After her visit to Ravirala, Ms. Nayak held extensive meetings with senior officials of the A.P. Government. Asked about the outcome of the discussions, she said that hopefully things would move in a proactive manner, adding that the first concrete step would be to compile statistics.

“We have funds to the tune of Rs. 500 crore collected as cess from those in the construction industry. All we need is a bit more of human outlook and pull up our socks to ensure that all concerned work in tandem to implement existing welfare schemes in a more effective manner,” she said.

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