Indore (Madhya Pradesh): The district administration announced a campaign on Monday to eradicate ‘disguised begging’ from the streets of Indore. Officials maintain that members of the ‘wiper gang’ (Small children who clean cars at major traffic signals and demand money) are child labourers, and officials would act against their parents or others who employ them to perform these acts of ‘service’.
Free Press highlighted the issue in its edition on August 11. Chaired by collector Ilayaraja T, the committee has been instructed to run an effective campaign to eradicate the problem.
The collector said, “The committee along with the concerned departments must identify sectors (hotspots) where there are cases of disguised begging. Stringent action should be taken against the employers or those who force them to work.
The campaign must be well-planned so that the children engaged in the begging at crossroads could be rescued.” The committee would be taking the help of NGOs and other private institutes as well. “Special attention should be paid to labour settlements.
The rescued child labourers\beggars should be given proper counselling followed by education and training so that they are properly rehabilitated and do not go back on the streets. All concerned departments and NGOs should make coordinated efforts to eradicate child labour, and there should be zero tolerance,” he added.
First counselling and then legal action
“As per instructions, the department has come up with a few ideas that will be executed within a week. Specially trained teams are being deployed at identified squares of the city to counsel the parents and the child labourer\beggar. The counselling would be done in three phases and if the children are still found on the streets, then legal action would be taken.” - Meghna Bhatt, Nodal Officer, Labour Department.
The campaign to eradicate root cause
“The department has a dedicated team that looks after this issue. Along with the other departments, we plan to introduce a grassroots campaign, that will identify the root cause.” - Ramniwas Bhudholiya, Joint Director, WCD