Child labour continues in Mendhar

Children engaged in labour work in Mendhar. — Excelsior/Rahi Kapoor
Children engaged in labour work in Mendhar. — Excelsior/Rahi Kapoor

Excelsior Correspondent

MENDHAR, Jan 17: In violation of the Child Labour Act, children below the age of 14 continue to be hired for various jobs in border Sub Division Mendhar of District Poonch, courtesy to the callous attitude of the authorities concerned that failed to act tough against the violators.
According to the Act, no child below the age of 14 can be employed for any work while a leisure walk on the road could make a sane person aware of crude reality that children mostly work at dhabas and tea stalls and even at auto workshops.
Though the authorities time and again claim to have abolished the menace of child labour but the practice goes on unabated in Poonch district.
If sources are to be believed the under age children could be seen working in various hotels, restaurants, sweet shops, industries and other shops openly. Though these children maintain that family compulsion push them to work, but the law enforcing agencies have turned mute spectators to their responsibilities to take action against employers who are violating the law.
“The growing number of child labour has exposed the height of the ineffectiveness of the labour department to control the child labour in Poonch district,” said Satish Sharma, a social activist.
As per various activists there are several cases of child labour when the businessmen openly violate the law and employ children being brought from Mendhar and other remote areas of Poonch district.
Locals of Mendhar Ketan Verma, Balram Sharma, Saleem Hussain and others while talking to Excelsior said that hundreds of children could be seen working at different shops and other work places but authorities concerned have failed to take a step in this regard. They added that the reason behind the menace in district is poverty and illiteracy in rural and far flung corners of the Mendhar Sub divison. “Poor parents have no other option but to send their children to work,” they said.
Tehsildar Mendhar, Dr Vikram Kamar said, “We are doing whatever we can do to curb child labour. We are very sensitive about child labour and has asked to take prompt action on receiving any such info on child labour.”