Forty-three children working for two factories at Shivaji Nagar were rescued in a raid on Thursday.
The raid was carried out jointly by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, members of Punjab State Child Rights Protection Commission, Ludhiana police, and officers of the district administration.
The children are all boys and aged between seven and 14. Most were trafficked from Bihar and West Bengal.
Ajay Sood, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) (east), said the team received information that Tip-Top Garments Factory and Decent Garments, Shivaji Nagar, had employed the children as factory works. “I will write to the police commissioner for the registration of a case against the factory-owners,” he said.
The children were taken to civil hospital for a medical examination. The SDM said the children would be sent to a children's home and then would be handed over to their parents. “I have directed the officers concerned for strict action against the factory-owners,” said the SDM.
Sukesh Kalia, member of Punjab State Child Rights Protection Commission, said the employers used to exploit the children by making them work 12 to 13 hours.
Tehsildar Gagandeep Singh, deputy director (factories) Kashmir Singh, Manjit Kaur and Tarsem Chand, both inspectors of the labour department were members of the raiding team.
Rs 600 a month for working 12 hrs a day
Employment of children as factory-workers in the city is a tale that is best forgotten. From dreams of a better tomorrow to the grind of working in a dimly lit factory at a new city, a 12-year-old boy, who was promised the job of a tailor, said that he hailed from Bihar and was brought here on a promise that he would become a master tailor one day. “I was brought here by a local trafficker from Bihar. He had promised my mother a good salary for me once I became a master tailor,” he said. There was, however, betrayal at the end of the tunnel. “But I've been here for seven months and only receive Rs 600 a month.”