Ujjwal Chauhan sets out on 2,500-km bicycle journey from Kolkata to Mumbai

It was almost chaos when photographers jostled with each other to capture the movement when Tollywood superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee flagged off the 2,500-km bicycle ride from Kolkata to Mumbai undertaken by Ujjwal Chauhan, a student of IIT Kharagapur, at Kolkata Press Club here on Tuesday. State footballers such as Mehtab Hossain, Jose Ramirez Barreto, and yesteryear football icon Chuni Goswami were present.

The initiative known as ‘Ride 4 Child Rights’ is being undertaken by CRY (Child Rights and You), an NGO that works to tackle exploitation of children.

To create awareness of the menace of child labour, Mr. Chowhan will embark on a month-long bicycle journey to Mumbai during which he will pass through Odisha, Chattisgarh, and Maharashtra and along the way, he will take pictures of various instances of child labour in these States.

When asked about the reason behind such an arduous task, Mr. Chowhan said, “I just wanted to create awareness of child labour and inspire the youth as they are the real agents of change.”

Across the street, diagonally opposite to the press club, in a nearby eatery, Sunil Mondal (14) was nonchalantly washing dishes. Hailing from Paschim Medinipur district, he has been working in this shop for the last three years.

When asked if he knows anything about the event at the press club, Sunil’s first answer was a blank stare.

Moments after, he said where he is from and how long he has been working in the shop when the owner intervened and said that he is not a worker and is at the shop just because summer vacations are going on. Sunil refused to say anything more in the fear of loosing his job.

Satyagopal Dey, associate general manager of CRY, told The Hindu, “It is not possible to pinpoint any immediate effect as a single initiative of a particular organisation cannot wipe out the nationwide presence of child labour.”

Keywords: child labour