With the authorities looking the other way, violations of the provisions guarding child labour is carrying on with impunity.
Children can be seen working in hotels, restaurants, factories, roadside eateries and shops. Around 70-80% children, especially migrants, work at dhabas and at homes as domestic workers.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, 13-year-old Shashi from Bihar said: "Everyday, our employer wants me to sell more and in the rush to reach out to as many people as possible, many times I get hit by fast moving vehicles."
"People often ask me why I don't go to school. Isn't it understood that because I am working, I can't go to school," said a child working at a canteen. Another kid said he had no option but to work at a dhaba, as there was no other source of income in his family.
A hosiery owner seeking anonymity said children were best suited for light work. "They are cheaper and they do not argue with the employers," he added.
Bir Devinder Singh, former deputy speaker of Punjab assembly, said it's very difficult to eradicate this problem till poverty exists in our country. The district administration needs to take strict action against the violators.
"Children are made to work for 16-18 hours continuously and all this goes unchecked. People pay around Rs 10,000-15,000 to the family and bring children along for employment. Children are preferred as they can be retained for longer period, as once employed, they are not able to acquire any other skill," claimed Rajiv Sharma, a businessman.
Rakesh Vermi, NGO, chairman of Dedicated Brothers group, said the labour department should conduct periodic raids to check the practice. "They don't conduct raids in big showrooms where number of children are working. We conduct awareness programs on the issue and also provide them basic needs whenever possible," he said.
When confronted, deputy commissioner GK Singh said he would look into the matter and assured strict action against the violators.