Over 5,000 children ‘shun’ schools in mica-mining areas of Jharkhand & Bihar: NCPCR
Over 5,000 children in the age group of six to 14 have reportedly shunned schools in three mica mining districts of Jharkhand and Bihar to work as labourers to supplement their family income, said the latest survey report of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
The survey said 4,545 children from Jharkhand’s Koderma and Giridih district are reportedly not attending the schools. Similarly, 649 children have been reported to abandoned schools in the survey area of Nawada district.
“The districts authorities of respective states have been communicated in this regard and corrective measures are being taken by them,” said NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo.
The commission had started the survey on ‘Education & Wellbeing of Children in Mica Mining Areas of Jharkhand and Bihar’ from May 2018, after a report by Terre Des Hommes, an international development agency working in India said more than 22,000 children are employed as child labourers in the mica mining areas.
NCPCR’s survey was aimed at finding out the educational status of children in the mica mining areas, the number of children who are not attending school and children involved in mica scraps.
The survey was conducted in 110 mica-mining panchayats of Koderma, 31 panchayats of Giridih of Jharkhand and Rajauli block of Nawada district in Bihar.
The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), an NGO, which claimed to have been the nodal agency of NCPCR for the survey in three districts has found mica mining areas are deprived of opportunities and children have started working as labourers for livelihood.
“During the the survey, we found most of the children are enrolled with schools. However, instead of going to schools, they go to mica mines to collect mica scrap, locally known as dhibra, to earn a livelihood for families” said BKS secretary Sanjay Mishra.
Mishra said on an average a child collect five to six-kilogram mica scrap daily and sell it to an illegal mica trader at ₹5 to ₹10 per kg. “This way, they earn anything between ₹25 to ₹50 a day,” he said.
The survey report mentioned that children in the age group of six and 14 in 45 habitations of Koderma, 40 habitations of Giridih and 15 habitations of Nawada go for mica scrap collection.
The teenagers in the age group of 15 and 18 years from 47 habitations in Koderma, 34 habitations in Giridih and 15 habitations in Nawada do the same job, the survey said.
Mishra said the commission has recommended rehabilitation centres for such children and residential schools for girls in the areas. Besides, the commission has also recommended for proper implementation of child right laws by the respective districts, he added.
Deputy development commissioner (DDC), Koderma Alok Kumar Trivedi said, “We have taken several initiatives in the last few months to bring back such children to schools. The survey report might be released now but it was carried out a year before. So, we have started working in this regard for the past few months.”
He said under Chalo School Abhiyan and Prayas campaign dropout students were brought to school. “Besides, we have also started a school named Samarth for such students involved in mica scrap collections,” he said.
The NCPCR also highlight the issue of under-nutrition among children in these districts. “In the case of Giridih and Koderma, the under-nutrition cases reported consisting of 14% and 19% of the habitations/ villages respectively in the survey areas. In case of Nawada, 69% habitations/ villages have reported that some children are malnourished,” the report said.