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Updated: May 13, 2013 23:52 IST

When others play, they sweat it out

Asif Yar Khan
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Many children in the Old City slog during summer vacations to supplement their family's income. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
The Hindu Many children in the Old City slog during summer vacations to supplement their family's income. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Several children in Old City slog at workshops and roadside eateries during summer in a trend that has been in vogue for many years despite never-ending debates on child labour laws

Summer vacation means picnics, play camps and lots of fun. But, not for some children in Old City. Come annual school vacation, and many children slog at workshops and roadside eateries all through the harsh season even as their counterparts elsewhere enjoy the break.

This trend has been in vogue for many years though a lot is being talked about child labour laws. Most of those working in this particular season are regular school-going children.

They are forced to work in some workshop or eateries or assist parents in their businesses to supplement family income.

Social activists say the money these children earn is usually spent on buying books and uniforms when schools reopen in June.

“It will continue to be so until an alternative is worked out for them,” says Mohd. Turab, executive secretary, COVA.

One need not go far into slums to get a glimpse of child labour. One can find them right near Charminar, selling candies and working in hotels and shops. The iconic Laad Bazaar is no exception. One can find children assisting their parents in shops or selling women’s accessories.

Traders admit that during summer the number of children working in shops increases. Some parents send their children to workshops so that they do not loiter around and instead learn the basics of some trade.

However, in most cases children at workshops are assigned the job of serving tea and gutkha to elder workers, says social activist S.Q. Masood.Instances of children getting exposed to bad habits are also many, he points out.

Child activists feel that sensitising parents on the issue will be fruitful instead of conducting raids that yield little result.

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