Indore: Is Child Labour Eradication Drive Just Formality? No 'Visible' Impact On Records

Indore: Is Child Labour Eradication Drive Just Formality? No 'Visible' Impact On Records

A campaign to eradicate child labour and begging by children seems to be an endless drive in Indore with no changes in reality, as the officials just ensure the rescue of about 30 children every year. The three-year data shows a constant number of the children rescued. In 2021-22, the number is low owing to Covid 19

Surbhi KhichiUpdated: Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 08:24 AM IST
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Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Stuffed in small spaces in Indore City, children aged under 14 years of age continue to be exploited endlessly. Is mini-Mumbai, business-capital of Madhya Pradesh going to continue crushing children to provide cheaper products and services forever?!

Seems like it. The idea of child rescue drives and eradication of child labour is just for targets with no actual change in the number of child labourers in the city.

A campaign to eradicate child labour and begging by children seems to be an endless drive in Indore with no changes in reality, as the officials just ensure the rescue of about 30 children every year. The three-year data shows a constant number of the children rescued. In 2021-22, the number is low owing to Covid 19. Moving on, for 2022-23 and 2023-24 the figures are close enough. And in the current year, till date 10 children have been rescued; seven of them in June month alone.

So, are there more children employed? This is the data of the ones who were caught when rescue operations were conducted. What if there are more kids out there who could have been saved only if a timely operation was conducted?

A source from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) shares, 'Believe me; the number will be the same every time a rescue operation is conducted. But the fact is it is only carried out when there is pressure from department higher-ups or like now in the month of June as there is International Child Labour Day.' The source confirms, 'After Covid, many children left studies and started working. There has been a rise in child labourers, but the number of children caught is negligible.'

On any random day, we can find 8-10 children crammed in a 10X10 room cutting clothes for stitching bags in the Moti Tabela region. The 1.5 km long slum area of Chandan Nagar is full of poor communities who encourage this. In Aakash Nagar, under the Dwarkapuri Thana, the kids stroll around consuming intoxicating substances. One can also find a large number of children begging at Vijay Nagar, Khajrana Square, Bhanwarkuan Square and other spots during the day.

Nearly half of the children working in Indore have come from Nalanda and East Champaran (Bihar), some parts of Uttar Pradesh and from Rajasthan. Tulsi Carpenter, director of Armaan orphanage says, 'The administration has to be strict. They have been slow. There are no frequent inspections. And there is always a danger where communities rule at large. It takes nearly a month to rehabilitate a child, even more if he is from another state. How are people allowed to travel with these many kids along with them? They must be checked. And there have been cases when the kid can be found doing the same work after rehabilitation.' If the situation is known then why arenít steps being taken to stop the practice?

Moreover, families themselves are pushing their children into this hell so why are children sent back to their families? Carpenter asks ruing the unhelpful attitude of the police when approached for help.

According to the district nodal officer, Chhotelal Sahu, this year 100 inspections have been done on the basis of the state government portal and 10 on the basis of complaints filed. That too by the team carrying out the Beggar-free Indore campaign. Could more children have been rescued if early suo motto action was carried out? People don't even know about the Pencil Portal of the Government where they can file complaints against child labour.

Itís high time for action; the reality deep down is worse. An 8-year-old Chhotu still serves tea, eats scrap and goes to sleep daily after being exploited. The child needs to be saved before he loses his innocence.

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