A meeting of ‘Bala Panchayats’ expressed concern that many children were getting addicted to mobile phones while in some villages child marriages were going on unchecked.
“There were problems such as ganja peddling, child marriages, school dropouts and child labour,” said the children, members of the ‘Bala Panchayats’, who gathered here on Saturday.
The programme was jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APSCPCR), the Child Rights Advocacy Foundation (CRAF) and the Women Development and Child Welfare (WD&CW) department to create awareness among children on child rights.
CRAF State programme director P. Francis Thambi said that ‘Bala Panchayats’ were formed to identify and discuss issues like school dropouts at village level, child marriages, child labour and keeping children away from vices.
“The Bala Panchayat members will discuss drinking water, roads, condition of school buildings, electricity and other issues and try to solve them at village level after taking the problems to the notice of village Sarpanches and teachers,” Mr. Francis said.
APSCPCR member J. Rajendra Prasad said that ‘Bala Panchayats’ played a vital role in creating awareness among children on child rights, and appreciated the children for dwelling on various aspects like POCSO, Right to Education and Prohibition of Child Marriage Acts.
WD&CW NTR district Project Director G. Uma Devi said that many children were getting addicted to mobile phones and asked the ‘Bala Panchayat’ members to focus on health and education of children.