The State government was making tall claims over eradication of child labour, but the number of children employed in shops and industries is on the rise in Krishna district.
Most pathetic is that many children were reportedly engaged as domestic maids, at hotels, bar and restaurants, fast food centres, major industries and factories and in fishing activity in seashore villages, which comes under hazardous work conditions category.
Two girls – Akhila (13) and Sujatha (13) who were engaged for working in a mango cutting unit died when the shed under which they were working collapsed at Chandrupatla village. Akhila and Sujata were studying seventh standard in a Gurukula Pathashala.
According to sources, a few persons from East Godavari, Chittoor and other districts have set up mango juice making, mango jelly and mango pieces (used in curries and pickles) units in Nuzvid, Agiripally, Vissannapeta and other mandals in Krishna district.
The owners engaged several children to work in the small scale units to cut mangoes, take out juice and prepare jelly. Besides, several children were working as domestic help in villages.
Speaking to The Hindu, Deputy Commissioner of Labour (DCL) S.Y. Srinivas said that the Small Scale Industries Department gives permission for the units to function and there was no information to the Labour Department with regard to functioning of the seasonal businesses.
“Notices have been served to the unit owner, in which four persons including two child labourers were killed at Chandrupatla village recently, under Employees Compensation Act of 1923,” said the DCL.
“I am studying in seventh standard and came for work in a mango jelly making unit to help my parents. The owner will pay Rs.100 per day,” said a child labourer on condition of anonymity.
“My parents are labourers. Every year, we work in the mango juice and jelly preparing units for two to three months, and use the amount for buying books and other purposes”, said another girl who was working in the jelly unit at Agiripally village.
In connection with the ‘World Anti-Child Labour Day’ on June 12, the Labour Department was conducting a drive to prevent child labour from June 12 to 20 in the district. But, there was no impact on the drive.
The DCL said that the drive was being conducted in villages and the Assistant Labour Officers concerned were monitoring the drive in the mandals.