DC spots child labourer in MCG office, orders probe

Boy begging in Agra

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GURGAON: The latest case of child labour in the city comes from within the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon. A 13-year-old boy had been serving tea to the civic body officials for several months and no one took notice until, on Wednesday, deputy commissioner R K Kataria spotted him and subsequently ordered an inquiry. The police registered an FIR against the childs employer, Ashok Kumar, under various sections of the Juvenile Justice Act and the IPC. The labour department has also slapped a case against the employer under sections of the Child Labour Act. Talking to TOI, Kataria said he had gone to the MCG office  situated outside the General Hospital when the case came to his notice.

As soon as I looked at the kid, I realized that he is underage. The child was hesitant in disclosing his age and his native place at first. But after I made him sit with me and talked to him, he disclosed his age and said he belongs to Bihar, Kataria added.

Kataria summoned the district child welfare officer and Childline (children helpline) to rescue the child. The child was taken to the nearest police station after a medical test. The police registered an FIR against the accused under Sections 23 (punishment for cruelty to juvenile or child) and 26 (exploitation of juvenile or child employee) of the Juvenile Justice Act and Section 374 (unlawful compulsory labour) of the IPC.

Rishi Kant, spokesperson of NGO Shakti Vahini, which runs Childline in Gurgaon, said, The child has been working at the tea stall owned by Ashok since August last year. The childs parents live in Sirhar district of Bihar. They have been getting Rs 2,000 per month from Ashok in lieu of the childs work. As the childs parents have been contacted, he will be handed over to them, said an officer.

Kataria added: A district level workshop for sensitization of all stakeholders is being planned. Resource persons from NCPRC and NHRC will be part of the workshop. It is pertinent to mention that the DC is the head of district child welfare committee, besides chairing the recently constituted district monitoring committee for child labour and abuse. In past few weeks a number of child labour cases have been reported in the Millennium City.

If officials in the district child welfare department are to be believed, about 20% of domestic helps working in posh localities are below the age of 14 years. But voluntary organizations working in the field of rescuing child workers in the city claimed that about 50% of the total population of people working as domestic helps would be children. Unfortunately, authorities don’t have enough manpower to take action against those who employ underage worker.



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