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Child workers toil at Mankachar�s cashew factory

By Correspondent

GOLAKGANJ, Nov 4 � Discrepancy between principle and practice is what marks all Government undertakings in India. While the Government enforces rules, their implementation remains a far cry. The Mankachar cashew factory in Dhubri is an example of such discrepancy.

Women aged 25 to 40 yeas and children as young as eight years and some in their early teens work in this kaju factory. Most of the child workers are female and a majority have not been to a school. The cashew factory is a boon to these workers as all of them live below the poverty line. When one examines the expressions on the faces of the children toiling in the factory, one would discover a �born adult� making his contributions towards the family income, as the benefits of Child Labour Act are yet to reach them.

A worker named Sakina Khatun along with one of her companions was enjoying a sugarcane when this correspondent went to visit the centre. The two girls were taking a break from their work in spite of knowing the fact that the more the work, the more will be the returns.

The two girls, perhaps delighted to find a visitor, led this correspondent inside and introduced all her fellow child workers. Instead of pensive looks, cheerful faces were seen. When this correspondent got ready to photograph them, their faces lifted up but their tiny calloused hands were busy with the work. Most of the women are also illiterate. They have not heard about any adult education centre though it is learnt that adult education programmes are being introduced in Dhubri district too.

Though living in a life of darkness after 64 years of independence, there is no doubt regarding the fact that they are happy in their own world. The child labour act has no meaning for them. Unless their pecuniary condition is improved, the factory is their only world. Cooped up inside, the children will go on shedding blood and sweat and bantering jokes to make the most of the atmosphere. Though they seem joyful enough, one cannot help feeling sad with the picture of children working in the factory.

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Child workers toil at Mankachar�s cashew factory

GOLAKGANJ, Nov 4 � Discrepancy between principle and practice is what marks all Government undertakings in India. While the Government enforces rules, their implementation remains a far cry. The Mankachar cashew factory in Dhubri is an example of such discrepancy.

Women aged 25 to 40 yeas and children as young as eight years and some in their early teens work in this kaju factory. Most of the child workers are female and a majority have not been to a school. The cashew factory is a boon to these workers as all of them live below the poverty line. When one examines the expressions on the faces of the children toiling in the factory, one would discover a �born adult� making his contributions towards the family income, as the benefits of Child Labour Act are yet to reach them.

A worker named Sakina Khatun along with one of her companions was enjoying a sugarcane when this correspondent went to visit the centre. The two girls were taking a break from their work in spite of knowing the fact that the more the work, the more will be the returns.

The two girls, perhaps delighted to find a visitor, led this correspondent inside and introduced all her fellow child workers. Instead of pensive looks, cheerful faces were seen. When this correspondent got ready to photograph them, their faces lifted up but their tiny calloused hands were busy with the work. Most of the women are also illiterate. They have not heard about any adult education centre though it is learnt that adult education programmes are being introduced in Dhubri district too.

Though living in a life of darkness after 64 years of independence, there is no doubt regarding the fact that they are happy in their own world. The child labour act has no meaning for them. Unless their pecuniary condition is improved, the factory is their only world. Cooped up inside, the children will go on shedding blood and sweat and bantering jokes to make the most of the atmosphere. Though they seem joyful enough, one cannot help feeling sad with the picture of children working in the factory.