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Child labour prevalence continues to haunt East Godavari district

Kakinada: The continuing presence of child labour reflects the failure of the officials in enforcing the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, according to Child Rights Activists.

The sand scarcity, which hit the construction activity in the State, has also contributed to aggravate the child labour problem. The child rights activists have vouched for the fact that the construction workers have migrated to Prakasam district along with their families to work in stone crushing units as they rendered jobless due to scarcity of sand. The workers have forced their children to work in hotels and brick-making units.

The children of these migrant workers had to drop out of schools as they were forced to accompany their parents who migrated to other districts in search of work. Though the government restored the supply of sand in sufficient quantities, which contributed to resumption of construction activity, the children of the labourers have continued to work in brick-making units and roadside hotels.

It is alleged that the officials of the Labour Department have failed to make an impact in eradicating child labour. According to sources, there are nearly 250 brick- making units at Mandapet, Ramachandrapuram, Bikkavlue, Amalapuram, Machavaram, Pandalapaka, Komaripalem and other places.

At present, nearly 100 brick-making units are making brisk business. Nearly 10 families depend on each brick-making unit for their livelihood. Deputy Labour Commissioner P Srinivasa Rao said the officials of the Education Department and Sarva Siksha Ahibyan had recently conducted awareness camps at the brick-making units and succeeded in enrolling children in schools.

Apart from it, the officials of the Labour Department registered 17 cases and ensured that the children were enrolled in schools. The officials also conducted raids and booked cases in Pithapuram, Tuni, Rajahmundry and Kakinada, he said.

The child rights activists, however, said nearly 1,000 families had migrated to other places for the work and their children dropped out of school. They blamed the officials of the Education Department for failure to ensure that the children did not drop out of schools.

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