GUWAHATI, June 11 � On the eve of the World Day Against Child Labour, the scenario in Guwahati, the gateway to the North East, does not reflect a child-friendly ambience with the likes of Meena, Gautam and others working either as domestic help or in various other commercial establishments.
Though the laws have prohibited child labour, Meena, just 10 years of age, has been employed in a household and her daily chores include washing piles of dishes, washing the clothes of her employers and looking after their two-year-old kid. And she gets only Rs 500 as her monthly remuneration.
According to Guwahati Child Line coordinator Nirmal Deka, employment of children as domestic help, particularly young girls, is rampant in the city although the law prohibits it.
�Since January 2012 to January 2014 we have rescued 329 children employed in various commercial establishments some even hazardous and some employed as domestic help,� informed Deka adding that it is difficult to determine the number of children working as domestic help in the city because they are not visible.
It needs to be mentioned here that this year, World Day Against Child Labour draws attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it, calls for social security system that are sensitive to the needs of children and protection for vulnerable groups of children.
�To eradicate child labour from the society it is important that all the legal provisions are implemented in true spirit. Mere lip service will not ensure the children their rights,� said Deka. The authorities must also be sincere in implementing the social welfare schemes aimed at poverty alleviation, he said.
Through CWC, Kamrup, the child labourers rescued by Guwahati Child Line has received compensation to the tune of Rs 11.4 lakh so far. However Deka feels that the need of the hour is amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. He said that as the present penalty for child labour was not acting as a deterrent the fine imposed for such a crime must be hiked.
Subimol Goldsmith, Senior Programme Manager, My City Initiative- Guwahati, World Vision India also urged for amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. �Unless the penalty is made more stringent, children will be employed in various occupations,� said Goldsmith.