‘Those found employing children face imprisonment of up to two years’

“Don’t engage boys and girls aged below 14 for work, instead they should be admitted in schools as per the Right to Education Act.” This was the stern message from Principal Secretary, Labour Welfare, J.C. Sharma.

Employers found employing children would be liable for punishment of up to two years imprisonment, said Mr. Sharma.

The officer, along with Commissioner (Employment and Training) G. Jaya Lakshmi, Collector Budha Prakash M. Jyothi, DRDA Project Director M. Janaki, and Additional Commissioner of Labour Y. Surya Prasad launched a special drive to prevent child labour, at Sub-Collector’s office on Saturday.

Mr. Sharma flagged off the vehicles, in which mobile squads would move to rescue and rehabilitate child labourers in the district. The drive will continue up to March 31.

Speaking on the occasion, the Principal Secretary said the mobile squads comprised of officers from the Labour, Factories, National Child Labour Project, Rajiv Vidya Mission, and Women Development and Child Welfare departments, and NGOs.

“Our aim is to make all urban areas child labour-free by March 31. All the government departments, NGOs, trade unions, and the public have been requested to cooperate and pass information over phone Nos. 9492555088 or 9492555089 if they notice child labourers,” said Mr. Sharma. Later, he handed over fixed deposit worth Rs. 90,000 to a 10-year-old domestic help who was rescued from a house located at Gunadala in the city.

The Labour Department authorities said the teams would raid factories, quarries, shops and other establishments, hotels, mechanic sheds, and houses. The establishment owner or head of the house who engage children for work would be prosecuted as per law, said NCLP Project Director D. Anjaneya Reddy.

Joint Commissioners K. Yella Rao and Yousuf Shaik, Deputy Commissioner of Labour S.Y. Srinivas, WD&CW Project Director V. Raghava Rao, and representatives of various NGOs attended the programme.

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