‘Labour Department receiving complaints against government officials also'

Joint Labour Commissioner J.T. Jinkalappa expressed concern over the increase in the number of complaints in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts about children being used as domestic help.

Speaking at a training workshop for inspectors designated under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 here on Thursday, Mr. Jinkalappa said the department had been receiving complaints from residents and non-governmental organisations about the use of children as domestic help in the houses of government officials and those working in private companies. There had been complaints about use of children as domestic help in houses in coffee plantations.

Mr. Jinkalappa said that there were fewer incidents in Dakshina Kannada of children working in industries and other units unlike other districts. “If you can prevent the use of children as domestic help, this district can be declared as free of child labour,” he said.

Mr. Jinkalappa said the use of children as domestic help had been banned since 2008. The State Government had issued directions to government officials not to use children as domestic help and give declaration to their higher-ups accordingly every year. The department had been collecting declaration of government officials and holding departmental heads responsible for any violation, he said.

As many as 400 district officials from 11 departments, who had been designated as Inspectors under the Child Labour Act vide notification of November 30, 2010, attended the workshop. It included the Panchayat Development Officers, Revenue Inspectors, Health Inspectors, Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan officers, and Agriculture Department officers.

Mr. Jinkalappa said a lot needed to be done in order to declare the State as free from child labour. “We had to achieve it by 2007. Now, the deadline has been extended to December 2012.” The State has been submitting the status of child labour to the Supreme Court every three months. He said the Labour Department had been carrying out a survey of child labour in the State and had completed the exercise in 25 districts. “But the figures would not be accurate. We have noticed tendency of owners asking children to run away when they see our officers,” he said.

Mr. Jinkalappa asked the designated inspectors to work towards eradication of child labour.

While checking at a house, Mr. Jinkalappa said, officials should go as a team that includes a woman. The checking at the house should be done solely on the basis of a complaint. He asked the inspectors to take steps for rehabilitation of the child before declaring it as a case of child labour.

Principal Civil Judge (Senior Division) R.V. Patil inaugurated the workshop.

Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer K.N. Vijay Prakash, Child Welfare Committee President Asha Nayak, and Assistant Labour Commissioner Venkatesh Sindhihatti participated in the workshop.

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