Picture for representation
Picture for representation

The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) Police Commissionerate has apprehended a 44-year-old factory owner for employing minor boys to operate heavy machinery at his establishment in an industrial unit in Bhayandar (east) on Friday.

The team rescued two minor boys aged 15 and 17 years who were made to work in extremely unsafe conditions. Acting on a tip-off, in context to employment of youngsters, the AHTU team led by Senior Police Inspector-D.S.Patil swooped down on the premises of the steel utensils manufacturing and polishing unit located in Kasturi Industrial Estate and conducted the rescue operation.

Apart from slapping the recently amended sections of the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, a case under the Juvenile Justice Act-2015 (Care And Protection of Children) and section 374 of the IPC has been registered against the factory owner identified as- Kalika Chotelal Singh (44).

The rescued boys who are said to be natives of a remote village in Uttar-Pradesh have been moved to the children’s welfare home until they are reunited with their families. The accused confessed to have employed the minors sans any training and to exploit them by paying significantly low wages as compared to high salaries sought by trained and skilled machine operators.

From road-side eateries, bakeries and catering firms to automobile repair workshops and heavy industrial units, minor children are made to work in appalling conditions, in brazen violation of the child labour act, even as the district labour office continues to play blind towards such illegal activities, for obvious reasons.

The blind eye by the labour wing and “once in a blue moon” raid and cosmetic action by the police has encouraged establishment owners to exploit child labour. Meanwhile, an offense has been registered at the Navghar police station which is conducting further investigations into the case.

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Free Press Journal