UP govt to crack down on establishments employing children

Published on Aug 13, 2021 09:49 PM IST

About 10,000 children and teenagers, including about 2,000 engaged in hazardous work, have been identified in the past five years

Many children, who may be identified in the drive, may begin working as labourers again, apprehend officials (File pic for representation)
Many children, who may be identified in the drive, may begin working as labourers again, apprehend officials (File pic for representation)

LUCKNOW A large number of children and teenagers continue to work as labourers, with many of them engaged in hazardous work, even as the state government launches another campaign to identify child labour and act effectively against their employers from August 16 to 30.

About 10,000 children and teenagers, including about 2,000 engaged in hazardous work, have been identified in the past five years. Action has been taken in the form of prosecution being launched against over 1,000 employers, but there appears no check on children being engaged as labourers in Uttar Pradesh.

“From August 16 to 30, the state government proposes to launch another campaign to identify child labourers and act against establishments employing them,” said Suresh Chandra, additional chief secretary, labour.

There are apprehensions that many of those, who may be identified in the drive, may begin working as child labour again in the next few weeks. “Efforts are made to send such children to school or action is taken for their rehabilitation. Yet, many of such children return to the same or other work establishment within a few weeks,” said a functionary of the state’s labour department.

Besides launching special campaigns from time to time, the labour department has also implemented Naya Savera Yojana in collaboration with the Unicef in select villages of 20 districts of UP to make these areas child labour free.

Apart from Lucknow, the districts covered under Naya Savera Yojana are Kanpur, Agra, Bareilly, Badaun, Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Barabanki, Gonda, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Mirzapur, Sonebhadra, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Ballia, Prayagraj and Gorakhpur.

“Under this scheme, 39,856 children in 6 to 14 years age group have been identified and 26,933 of them have been rehabilitated in the past four years. In the 15 to 18 year age group too, 16,383 have been identified and 5,290 have been rehabilitated. About 6,679 families have been registered with Uttar Pradesh Bhawan evam Sannirman Karmkar Kalyan Board (welfare agency for construction and other workers),” said another functionary.

As a number of children and teenagers are also seen begging and selling small items at various crossings in the state capital and in other major towns, there are apprehensions about possibility of certain criminal gangs leading them into such activities.

“A large number of children and teenagers are working as child labourers though the exact number is not available. In many cases, the children identified and rescued return to work as child labour in the absence of any major scheme for rehabilitation,” said Sangeet Sharma, former member, Child Welfare Committee.

“There may be some cases of child trafficking but hardly any criminal case is registered. Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) and Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPUs) have been set up in every district, but authorities are not able to take action as parents of such children often deny involvement of any gang. Under such circumstances, efforts made to identify those working behind such children may prove futile,” added Sharma.

ADG (law and order) Prashant Kumar said effective action would be taken in any criminal case. “We will work in coordination with government agencies to ensure effective action,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.

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