Even though the city is infamous for rampant violations of the Child Labour Act, it does not have children's home where the rescued child labourers can be rehabilitated, cry those working towards child welfare in the city.
Incidentally, almost all the children rescued in the city were working as labourers in factories, who were sent to the nearest children home at Ropar for rehabilitation. Notably, Punjab has children's homes in Bhatinda, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Ropar and Jalandhar.
According to a rough estimate by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a non-government organisation (NGO), as many as 10,000 children under the age of 14 are employed illegally in factories here. The number is significantly higher than other cities in Punjab, as recently pointed out by Punjab labour minister Surjit Kumar Jayani, who said that Ludhiana district was the most vulnerable to child labour in the state.
A senior officer with the labour department, who did not want to be named, said the city badly needed children's home, as its absence was making rescue work difficult. "A high court judgement in April said that every city must have a children home; but Ludhiana, despite the urgent need, doesn't have one,"she said.
Rajeev Sood, a member of Child Welfare Committee, rued the department had written to the Punjab government repeatedly, but the proposal was never moved ahead for want of funds. "In the absence of a follow-up of our cases, the children in many cases have gone back to work in factories,"he added.