Irked over the dismal condition of child labour in the coal mines as well as widespread prevalence of child labour in other different sectors, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued a number of directives to the concerned departments, of the Government of Meghalaya.
The Commission had visited Meghalaya in October (16-18) to investigate the problem of child labour in coal mines. A team, led by Dr. Yogesh Dube, Member, NCPCR, had a meeting with the Chief Secretary and representatives from various departments (Social Welfare, Education, Labour, Mining and Police among others) of the Government of Meghalaya.
It also met the Director, Social Welfare and his team separately and visited the Meghalaya Hindu Mission Orphanage to inquire into a complaint of child abuse and interacted with the representatives of various civil society organizations. The visiting team expressed its displeasure over the dismal condition of child labour in the coal mines as well as widespread prevalence of child labour in other sectors like hotels, restaurants and market places. They were also shocked to learn about the pathetic situation of the street, disabled and HIV/AIDS affected children in the State.
Some of the directives include ensuring mapping of the schools and survey of the out-of-school children in the State within 3 months, undertake mapping of schools in the coalmine and coal depot areas of Lad-Rymbai and Rymbai in Jaintia Hills district, ensure that corporal punishment is not practiced in the schools and furnish a report to the Commission on the ongoing inquiry involving the same.
The Commission asked for a status report on School Health Programme and Immunisation initiative in the state within two weeks from the health department. It directed the department of Mining and Geology to undertake a survey mapping of the mines and mining areas of the state and report to the Commission within 4 weeks and expedite and finalise the proposed Mining Policy (2009) which is under process with the Government. It has also directed to constitute a state-level Core Committee on Child Labour under the leadership of Secretary Labour, along with the Secretaries of Education, Home, Social Welfare and Deputy Commissioners of the vulnerable districts as its members.
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