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Dibrugarh district administration launched a drive to free the district from child labour. Since 2012, as many as 172 cases of child labour reported across the district.
A task force consisting of community leaders, anganwadi workers, social activists, NGOs, village defence parties, village headmen, locals and the police has been constituted that will work in close coordination to put an end to child labour in the district.
“We are determined to end child labour in the district. Since 2012, one hundred and seventy two cases of child labour have been dealt by the child welfare community in Dibrugarh district. We have a childline toll free number–1098. Anyone coming across any child or adolescent engaged as labour or in distress can call the number for rescue. We need the support of everyone to make the mission a success. Not a single case should go unreported,” Dibrugarh DC Laya Madduri on Friday said.
Of late, the district administration has been conducting a series of awareness camps, street plays and rallies to create awareness among the general public across the district.
Several such camps have already been held in remote areas like Maijan ghat, Chandmari ghat and Panchali apart from several tea gardens in the district.
According to District Child Protection officer PC Borah, the main pockets of child labour in Dibrugarh district were concentrated in brick kilns, fireworks, factories, quarries, hotels, dhabas, shops and tea gardens.
“Many of them were engaged as domestic help and vegetable sellers while some were even engaged in preparation of local alcohol. There were some who use to pick garbage dumps for rags, paper and plastic pieces,” he said.
As per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, a ‘child’ is defined as any person below the age of 14 and the Act prohibits employment of a child in any employment including as a domestic help.
It is a cognizable criminal offence to employ a child for any work. Children between age of 14 and 18 are defined as ‘Adolescent’ and the law allows Adolescent to be employed except in the listed hazardous occupation and processes which include mining, inflammable substance and explosives related work and any other hazardous process as per the Factories Act, 1948.