AS PER AN ESTIMATE MORE THAN 15,000 CHILD LABOURERS WORK IN THE CYCLE AND HOSIERY INDUSTRIES AS WELL AS RESTAURANTS AND EATERIES
The Labour Department has failed to take on those employing child labourers in factories and other areas. The department is turning a blind eye towards Aggar Nagar on Ferozepur Road and BRS Nagar markets where several child labourers have been employed openly at different eateries and industries near Bhadur K Road, Manna Singh Nagar, etc. A team visited the BRS Nagar market in the past couple of days and found that most of the eateries have employed child labourers for serving food in cars. Importantly, liquor is also served in the cars. The Sarabha Nagar police station is just a few steps from the market and these illegal activities are conducted openly. A few months back, the Labour Department raided a few industrial units and eating joints in different areas, but now they seem to have abandoned the drive for reasons best known to it. Gaganpreet Singh, a resident of BRS Nagar, said, “The Labour Department usually conducts raids at remote areas and eating units located in suburb areas. They should conduct raids at prominent market.” In Ludhiana, as per an estimate more than 15,000 child labourers work in the cycle and hosiery industries as well as restaurants and eateries.
However, the administration has so far failed to take action against those employing these children. The Labour Department has not been able to assess the total number of workers in different industrial units in Ludhiana. There is estimated 13 lakh migrant workers in Ludhiana, but most of them are not registered with the department. On the other hand, the data of child labourers is not available with the department. Dinesh Kumar, a member of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said, “I will file a complaint and take action against the child labour that is rampant in the BRS Nagar market and other areas. We usually conduct raids along with the Labour Department.” According to sources, the department is hand in glove of different factories and eateries. Therefore, the higher authorities should look into the matter and take the required steps to check this menace. City resident Harnam Singh said, “I have given a complaint to the department that child labour is rampant but the authorities are showing indifferent attitude towards the menace.” When contacted, Chairman of Protection of Child Rights Commission Punjab Sukesh Kalia said, “We are conducting raids on weekly basis and I have recently issued instructions to officers to conduct raids so that the child labour be eliminated.” Despite repeated attempts, Inspector Brij Mohan, Station House Officer of the Sarbaha Nagar police, was not available for comments.