Tall claims of the state governments of socially empowering the downtrodden and eliminate illiteracy proves to be a dud as strength of children in the special schools running under the National child labour project (NCLP) scheme are dipping from past few months in the district.
The children have not been receiving their monthly stipend of Rs 150 since August 2013 under the scheme. Moreover, salaries to teachers are also not paid for last 13 months by the government.
The scholarship is given to the children, who are rescued from child labour and are under rehabilitation, pursuing study at these special schools. It is pertinent to mention here that the union labour ministry has set up 27 NCLP schools in the district that are functioning since 2007 for rehabilitation and education of rescued child labourers.
Though, under the scheme every school should have a batch of 50 students but now it remains only 30 to 35 at these schools due to half-hearted attitude of government.
Manmohan Singh, an activist of local NGO said that schools are facing difficulties even in arranging basic amenities as most of the schools do not have sitting benches and chairs for children forcing students to sit on floor even during the chilly cold. He further revealed that luckily schools are receiving mid day meals food for students which is the only lure left to attract children for coming to school.
Administration has appointed 135 members of staff including 78 teachers and 57 other staff worked in these schools to assist the teachers in serving and preparing meals since the inception of these schools.
But teachers are also not received their monthly pay Rs 4000 from past 13 months and teachers warned the administration that they will stop working in schools if their pending salaries are not released before March 31.
Iqbal Singh, president of NCLP school staff welfare committee said, “We are being paid peanuts compared to what services we render in these schools, even which our salaries are still pending."
Whereas, now the children’s numbers are also lessening gradually but we are unable to convince parents of children anymore as all belongs to poor families, Singh added.
Meanwhile, NCLP committee members alleged that they have given several memorandums to deputy commissioner and local Member of Parliament (MP) to redress their demands but nothing has been done so far in this regards.
Director of National child labour project, Inderjit Singh said “I have sent a proposal for the immediate release pending stipend of children and salaries to higher authorities at Delhi and which is expected to be released before March 31.”