Rights body raps Meghalaya over child labour

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 01, 2011 14:30 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Shocked after finding children working as labourers in coal mines, hotels and restaurants in Meghalaya, the national child rights body Tuesday issued a number of directives to the state government, including asking it to carry out survey of school dropouts.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), an apex body working on child rights in the country, during a recent visit to the northeastern state was irked after seeing children working as labourers.

A team, led by NCPCR member Yogesh Dube, held meetings with the state chief secretary, representatives from various departments and also civil society members. They visited the state to investigate the problem of child labour in coalmines.

According to a statement issued here, the team also visited the Meghalaya Hindu Mission Orphanage to inquire into a complaint of child abuse.

'The visiting team expressed its displeasure over the dismal condition of child labour in the coal mines as well as widespread prevalence of child labour in other sectors like hotels, restaurants and market places,' the statement said.

'They were also shocked to learn about the pathetic situation of the street, disabled and HIV/AIDS affected children in the state,' it added.

In its directives, the child's rights body asked the state to conduct mapping of the schools and survey of the school dropouts within three months, to undertake mapping of schools in the coalmine and coal depot areas of Lad-Rymbai and Rymbai in Jaintia Hills district of the state.

'Ensure that corporal punishment is not practiced in the schools,' it added.

It asked for a status report on School Health Programme and Immunisation initiative in the state within two weeks from the health department.

It also directed the department of Mining and Geology to undertake a survey mapping of the mines and mining areas of the state and report to the commission within four weeks.

The member also directed the authorities to constitute a state-level core committee on child labour under the labour secretary.

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