Officials of the Labour Department who wax eloquent on the need to eradicate child labour are found wanting when it comes to implementation of labour laws in Krishna district.

The Labour Department officials who are making tall claims over eradication of child labour are lacking over implementation of the laws in Krishna district.

The fact that they have not visited the work spot where two minor girls engaged in a small scale industry died even a week after the incident vouches for it.

Incidentally, the officials observed World Anti-Child Labour Day with much fanfare on Tuesday.

On June 5, four persons — K. Akhila (12), her mother K. Sujatha (33), V. Victoria (30), and V. Sujatha (12) — who were engaged in a mango cutting unit at Teldevarapalli village in Vissannapet mandal died when the shed in which they were working collapsed under the impact of strong gales. Akhila and Sujatha were studying in class seven. Seven other persons suffered injuries in the accident. The police had registered a case.

The Labour Department ought to have booked cases against the employer under the provisions of the AP Shops and Establishment Act, 1988, the Minimum Wages Act, 1946, and the Employees Compensation Act of 1923.

But the officials concerned have not visited the place of accident even seven days after the incident.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the villagers, with the help of a local leader, convened a “panchayat” and “settled” the case. Owner of the mango cutting unit K. Jayachandra Chowdary was reportedly directed in the “panchayat” to pay Rs. 1.20 lakh to each victim. He had paid Rs. 40,000 each and agreed to pay the balance amount once the kin of the deceased withdraw cases.

Speaking to The Hindu, Nuzvid Assistant Labour Officer B.N.L. Kameswari, under whose jurisdiction the accident occurred, admitted that no action had been taken so far.

Project Director of the National Child Labour Project D. Anjaneya Reddy said an inquiry had been ordered cases would be booked based on the inquiry report. Vissannapet MRO B. Sarada said a report had been sent to the Collector recommending payment of compensation to the victims under the ‘Apadbandhu' and the Chief Minister's Relief Fund as the four persons died in a natural calamity.

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