Staff Reporter

Stress on motivating parents

At present, district has 70 child labour schools

New policy in the making, says labour official

VISAKHAPATNAM: G. Raju ran away from the SC Boys Hostel, Bhogapuram in Vizianagaram district, and was wandering on the streets when he was brought to the child labour school here. And, it is not the only such case.

Even as the nation celebrates the Anti-Child Labour Day on Wednesday, the problem of children in the group of 9-15 not getting even elementary education and being forced to work, remains a reality in spite of the free education being provided by the government.

Raw deal

According to sources, there have been instances of children being beaten up by teachers and forced to eat poor quality of food.

Many parents are not convinced about the schools or hostels being run by the government.

The prospect of losing one earning hand also acts as a major deterrent in keeping the children away from school.

Only the prospect of earning more has been forcing parents to keep their children away from schools or hostels, avers Deputy Labour Commissioner of Visakhapatnam L. Varahal Reddy.

Stern action

He points out that stern action is taken by the Labour Department and the penalty of Rs.20,000 is levied on the employer if he or she engages a child labourer.

The children rescued from the child labour are admitted in bridge schools (child labour schools) run by non-governmental organisations so that these children can later join regular schools.

At present, there are 70 child labour schools in the district, having approximately 50 children each.

“The onus of motivating parents to send their children to school in the first place lies on the government. Regular monitoring of the study centres run by the government is required.

Calculation

Number of children engaged as labourers should be calculated in every district and based on it an approximation be made on the labour schools required,” says Narava Prakasa Rao, vice- president of Bala Vikas Foundation, an NGO.

Project Director of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (Rajeev Vidya Mission) M. Ravi Kumar says: “At present, a new policy is being evolved about the child labour.”