On the occasion of Children’s Day, the Delhi government made a symbolic gesture. The Labour Department raided two zari factories in east Delhi and rescued 78 children.
This was the first instance in the last two months when the amended central Act on child labour was implemented in Delhi that any big raid took place.
Delhi Labour Minister Mangat Ram Singhal said the factories were raided in Khureji area under Geeta Colony Police Station after a definite information received from an NGO - Bachpan Bachao Andolan. 29 children out of 78 rescued, are under 14 years of age and 49 in the age group of 14-18 years. FIRs have been registered against 7 labour contractors in Geeta Colony Police Station in Child Labour Act and Bonded Labour Act.
“The rescued Children have been sent to Mukti Ashram. The Department has been also instructed to take necessary measures for their rehabilitation,” said Singhal. Most of the rescued children belong to the Muslim community and are from Bihar. The Delhi government would now write to the Bihar government so that the rescued children are sent back to their home state to their parents.
Interestingly, no child labourer has so far been rescued from working in dhaba, restaurants, tea shops and other places as mandated by the amended Child Labour Act.
According to the estimates of the Labour Department, there are at least 50 thousand child labourers working in hotels, restaurants, eating places and areas banned by the central government recently. An official of the department, on condition of anonymity said, “after being sent home, many of the rescued children return back to Delhi and get engaged in the same trade. “The raids are infrequent and do not act as deterrent for the employers of the child labourers,” the official pointed out.