Staff Reporter

Coimbatore: The District Collector, Neeraj Mittal, has called for joint efforts to abolish employment of children completely in non-hazardous industries in the district.

He was speaking at the valediction of the child labour abolition week celebrations here on Tuesday. He said that presence of child labour in the country was a matter of concern. In Coimbatore District, child labour had been abolished in hazardous industries. In the non-hazardous units too, children aged below 14 should not be employed.

The Collector said that some of the reasons for children going to work were poverty in the family and lack of awareness among employers.

Pointing out a recent instance when 49 children were rescued by the district officials, he said that on enquiry it was found that the children were paid just about Rs. 80 or Rs. 90 a day. The units would have paid about Rs. 150 for an adult worker. Thus, the industries were able to increase productivity and bring down cost of labour by employing children. Further, in rural areas, due to economic needs of the family, children were sent to work.

The Collector pointed out that in an effort to improve the income of such families, self help groups had been formed. The District had over 350 groups that had been formed as part of the steps taken to abolish child labour.

The members of these groups were supported with financial assistance from banks.

He urged the self help group members to create awareness in their locality against employment of children and the need to send children to schools.