The labour department has been conducting raids at far off factories to check child labour, but they have severely failed to take action against the persons employing child labour at different eateries and shops across the city.
The authorities concerned have turned a blind eye towards areas including, Aggar Nagar and Ferozepur Road market, where the practice of child labour is rampant.
The labour department started conducting raids on factories and other commercial establishments since Monday when the state action week started.
In Ludhiana, out of total number of child labourers working in the city, 15,000 are suspected to work in cycle industry, hosiery units as well as restaurants and eateries. However, the administration has so far failed to take action against those employing these children.
But, even as a large number of child labourers work at Aggar Nagar market openly throughout the day in different eateries, labour department has chosen to visit far away factories and recover three to four child labour a day, rather than raiding the market and rescue more children.
The labour department has formed two teams, including the one raiding factories and the other one scanning commercial establishments in Ludhiana district. The raids have been conducted till Mullanpur and Jagraon, but the department has failed to take action against eateries employing children at the market on Ferozepur Road despite, the matter been highlighted several times in the past.
The teams of labour department comprising members of NGO and police department have so far recovered 22 children from different commercial establishments in the past five days. Interestingly, in a raid by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan at a hosiery unit recently, 28 children including some Nepalese children were rescued in a single day.
Labour department rescued three children on June 15 from Industrial Area B, nine children from Kailash Nagar on June 16, three from Jamalpur on June 17, three from Bahadur Ke Road and Tajpur Road on June 18 and four children from Mullanpur and Jagraon on Friday.
Dinesh Kumar, a member of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said, “The labour department seems to be least interested in taking action against child labour working in different areas of the city. While most of the labour is working in eateries and dhabas in city, the department is busy raiding big factories where there are no chances of child labour employed.”
Kumar himself is a part of the state action week against child labour and accompanies the teams of the department for conducting raids.
Kumar said he had contacted Punjab Protection of Child Rights Commission chairman Sukesh Kalia and told him that deputy director of factories Jatinder Singh Bhatti raids only one factory in a day and comes back, even if not a single child is rescued.
Replying on the matter, Kalia said, “The matter has been brought to his notice and he will talk to higher authorities including labour commissioner. I was told that due to lackadaisical attitude of some senior officials the drive is not being conducted properly. I will talk to the labour commissioner soon.