Child labour in BT-cotton fields under scanner

As cross-pollination in BT-cotton plants in rural pockets has begun, officials in the district are closely monitoring whether child workers are being employed in the fields.


A survey by UNICEF revealed that migration of children from Javadu Hills in Tiruvannamalai, Vellimalai in Villupuram and Kolli Hills in Namakkal had increased last year, compared to 2011. They were mainly involved in cross-pollination in fields in Thalaivasal and Pethanaickenpalayam blocks in the district from October to December.

Officials at the Society for Monitoring and Implementation of Child Labour Elimination (SMILE) told The Hindu that various steps, including preventing migration, monitoring dropouts in schools and admitting them to schools run under National Child Labour Project (NCLP) were taken.

Resolutions have been passed at Grama Sabha meetings against child labour and handbills on child rights were distributed among farmers, they said.


The assistance of the departments of Agriculture and Revenue also has been sought for monitoring the activities on agricultural fields, apart from the active involvement of Block Level Committees. Schools have been asked to report absence of students continuously for three days so that dropouts can be prevented.

District Collector K. Maharabushanam had earlier written to the Collectors of Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Vellore and Namakkal, requesting them to prevent migration of children from their districts.

Officials said comprehensive rehabilitation measures for the families and the opening of NCLP schools in hill areas could prevent migration of children. Officials said the parents of these children are given an advance payment in June to send their children to the fields.

Efforts are on now to trace the agents who act as brokers between the parents and the farmers.

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