The child labour prevention week from June 12 to 18 observed by the state government across the state did not yield very encouraging results as only six children were rescued from their workplaces in the district.
As per the data obtained from the labour department, the department had formed two teams to rescue children working in factories, homes, shops and eateries.
Out of the six children, four were between 9 to 12 years and were doing jobs of a hazardous nature as bonded labourers.
However, no legal action has been initiated against any employers and the rescued children were handed over to the parents or guardians the same day.
The department only imposed a fine on the employers though there is a provision under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, to register an first information report (FIR) against the guilty persons for employing children below 14 years at hazardous work.
While there is no provision of penalty against parents of rescued children for the first time, but there is a provision to impose a fine of up to Rs 20,000 along with Rs 10,000 as child rehabilitation expenses on employers.
Dinesh Kumar, an activist of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan said the children were handed over to parents without making them undergo any rehabilitation programme.
Baljeet Singh, assistant labour commissioner, said children were rescued and later handed over to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for further ac tion.
District child protection officer (DCPO) Harpreet Kaur Sandhu said, “All rescued child labourers were between 9 to 12 years and were handed over to their families after verifying their credentials. Due to this, no FIR was lodged in the case.”
In Jalandhar, out of the rescued 15 child labourers, four were sent to the ‘Pingalwara Ghar’ The labour department had formed three teams and claimed to have conducted over 700 inspections, but rescued only 15 child labourers during the 7-day special campaign.
As per the information obtained from the department, 10 children were rescued from hazardous locations while five were freed from normal labour jobs. However, there was too no legal action and the violators of the Act were only fined.
Sources said that the department did not wish to file any FIR against the violators as parents of children denied to record statements or moved to other stations.
Amarjit Singh, district planning officer, said that six children were handed over to parents the same day. “Five children were handed over to families by the CWC s after proper identification, but four children were shifted to the ‘Pingalwara Ghar’, Singh added.