UNLIKE MOST boys his age, 8-year-old Rajan’s most ardent dream is to spend the entire day in school.
Instead, every morning Rajan, has to go to the mechanic shop to fix tyres only to return at seven in the evening. Ask him about Children’s Day and he goes blank. He’s never heard of the day and doesn’t know if the day is any different.
On the occasion of the Children’s Day, Lucknow Live met up with a few such kids only to know that ban on child labour in Lucknow is still far from reality. Zafar (10) assists his father in running a roadside dhaba opposite Bapu Bhawan. He has been able to study up to the 4th standard and misses the laddu that the teacher used to give on Children’s Day. He said, “I want to study but can’t study has I have to help my father earn money and run the family. Every night I try and study from the landlady but I wish I could go to school. I can’t afford to go to school.”
Lalta (10) works as a domestic help at a number of houses in the posh locality of Gokhle Marg and is still unaware about banning of child labour. She says, “I don’t know what you are talking about. I know neither about children’s Day nor about banning of child labour.”
Ban on child labour came to force from October 10 but more than a month later children at large are still engaged as labours. In a large number of cases employers as well as the children working as labour are not aware about the ban. Like in case of Lalta she does not know about the ban at all. She said, “The ban is not going to do any good to me. I work in the morning as domestic help and my mother sends me to a school in the evening. Infact, a certain portion of what I earn goes in for my education. If I don’t work then I would not be able to have some of the basic facilities and amenities that I have right now.”
However, the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Rakesh Kumar could not be contacted for comments.