Li?l labourers untouched by ban | india | Hindustan Times
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Li?l labourers untouched by ban

india Updated: Oct 11, 2006 00:56 IST
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Chhotu Aslam (9) assists his father in running a roadside dhaba opposite a government building on Ashok Marg. His father says, “It is only after my dhaba started doing well that I asked him to join. Anyway, Chhotu does not want to study.”

Bantu (12) is working at a scooter repair shop on Nawal Kishore Road and has no intention of quitting the job. He says, “If I quit the job where am I going to eat and get food for my family from?” 

Lalta (10) works as a domestic help at a number of houses in the posh Gokhle Marg locality and is unaware about the ban on child labour. She says, “I don’t know what you are talking about. And my masters have not told me anything about it either.”

BAN ON child labour came into force from Tuesday, but children are continuing to be engaged as labourers. In most of the cases there is complete lack of awareness about the ban and in other cases people are sure that the ban is only on papers and are not taking it seriously. Aslam said, “I don’t think any government official is going to check around the State whether workers in various outfits comprise children below 14 years of age.”

In a large number of cases, employers as well as children working as labourers are not aware of the ban. Like Lalta, who does not know about the ban at all and says, “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. In fact, a certain portion of what I earn goes into my education. If I don’t work, I would not be able to get even the basic facilities and amenities that I enjoy right now.”

Even sociologists are not sure how this ban would be implemented. Dr AK Pandey, Reader, Sociology Department, LU said, “Ban on child labour is good if it is implemented properly. The government will have to ensure the minimum requirement of these children and their family. Something would have to be done at the structural level. If the ban is implemented without taking care of these factors it would prove disastrous for the society. Obviously, poverty would increase and give rise to illegal activities and crime.”

Dr Rakesh Chandra, Director, Institute of Women’s Studies said the ban is good for the society and would ensure proper development of children. “It might prove to be arduous initially but in the long run it would be a boon for our society. The government should implement it sensibly. Other schemes promoted by the government like eradication of poverty, educational schemes and various other social welfare schemes should be popularised so that people could benefit from the schemes.”