Deputy Commissioner of Labour Department S.Y. Srinivas on Wednesday said cases booked against people employing child labourers were being disposed of expeditiously through open court hearing of the cases.

Pointing to child labourers rescued in raids conducted by the department personnel as part of a special anti-child labour drive in force from February 16, he said as many as 408 child labourers had been rescued and cases were booked against their employers.

The rescued children and their employers were produced in an open court conducted at Swaraj Maidan. Mr. Srinivas said under the drive, special teams constituted to identify and rescue young children languishing in factories, shops, commercial establishment and households, had fanned out into the city and intensified raids.

In the current year, over 500 cases were booked against employers of child labour in the district. Besides, 408 cases were booked under this special drive alone.

Open courts were being conducted on every Wednesday at Vijayawada, Machilipatnam and Gudivada and a total 128 cases had been registered so far. Of them, 98 cases had been solved and a penalty of Rs. 3,20,000 had been collected from employers and it was converted into fixed deposits in banks in the name of the respective child, he said.

Mr. Srinivas said the rescued children were sent to rehabilitation centres run by the Government. He said the government had been making all-out efforts to raise awareness on the menace of child labour in order to achieve a child labour-free society.

He said it was unfortunate that the wealthier section of society was indifferent to the problem. Taking undue advantage of the poor financial condition of the parents, these employers absorbed young children into work, flouting the rule book.

D. Anjaneya Reddy, P. Srinivas and C.H.V. Suryanarayana, Assistant Labour Commissioners of Vijayawada, Machilipatnam and Gudivada respectively, National Child Labour Programme (NCLP) supervisors K. Prasunamba and A. Paul Raj and officials of the Labour Department G.V. Subbarao, B. Muniswamy, S.R. Kumar, and G. S. Naik were present.

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