J. Balaji

NEW DELHI: The Bihar Government has rehabilitated 81 of 143 child workers rescued from carpet looms in Uttar Pradesh, where they were working from 1993 to 2003, following intervention by the National Human Rights Commission.

The Commission has now directed the district authorities to complete rehabilitation of the remaining 60 child labourers also as per the list provided by its Investigation Division to them and submit a report.

It has been pursuing the matter with the Bihar Government since 2005. The case was taken up on a complaint by Ghuran Mehto, regional president of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, on August 8, 2005, alleging that the district authorities of Saharsa, Madhepura, Darbhanga, Khagaria, Arariya, Gaya and Saupal were not complying with Supreme Court directions for rehabilitation of 114 rescued child labourers as a result of which they were forced to live in miserable conditions.

The National Human Rights Commission followed up the issue with the district authorities and also sent its team in August this year to the six districts in Bihar to make an on-the-spot inquiry to find out the progress made towards their rehabilitation. The team found that in addition to 114 cases as reported by the complainant, there were 29 more child labourers of Madhepura waiting for rehabilitation.

The team reported to the Commission that rehabilitation of 39 child labourers was completed before its visit, while two children had passed away.

Forty-two other child labourers were rehabilitated following the intervention of the team. In the case of ten othersthey agreed in principle to initiate the process.