Bihar State Child Labour Commission chairperson Ramdeo Prasad on Tuesday reiterated his demand to set up residential schools for rescued child labourers before the state government.
Addressing a state-level advocacy campaign, Prasad said the commission had suggested to the state government to take initiatives in the matter and was hoping for the best results.
“The commission has sent many reports to the state government suggesting an action plan for rehabilitation of child labourers. In each report we have mentioned about the need of constructing residential schools for the rescued child labourers. Now it’s up to the government whether they are going to implement our suggestions or not,” he said.
Prasad’s repeated demands, however, elicited no reaction from the state labour minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal who was also present at the programme.
Five non-government organisations — Navjagriti, Plan India, Adithi, Nidan and DVV — had organised the two-day campaign on child participation to promote children as active citizens. Prasad said there are around 6 crore child labourers in the country against 5 crore unemployed youths.
Sigriwal said parents who force their children to work needed to be punished. “The state government is contemplating to frame a law through which such parents could be punished,” he said, adding that there is also a need to sensitise people who employ children, to curb the practice.
Members of children’s clubs in different villages of Saran district, around 80km northwest of Patna, also presented a cultural programme.
Sigriwal also suggested the programme co-ordinators to organise such kind of programmes in remote villages instead of air-conditioned hotels. “Awareness needs to be generated among the rural people because the root of child labour lies there. Children migrate from villages in search of job so that they can help their family. This kind of awareness programme should be organised only in villages,” he said.