Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif launched the Khidmat Card Programme for financial assistance to children of brick kiln workers on Sunday. Addressing a ceremony at Expo Centre, the chief minister also announced that the minimum wage would be raised to Rs14,000 from July 1.
“Labour Day is about workers’ dignity and welfare. Workers in Pakistan toil in harsh conditions to earn their livelihoods. Their efforts strengthen the national economy,” he said. “It is due to the labour of workers that our industries produce goods and our fields bear fruits,” he said.
“The government is aware that there is much to be done for workers’ welfare. The journey to progress and development is not complete without prosperity of workers,” he said.
The chief minister said 48,000 children employed at kilns had been enrolled at schools.
“These children will be given a Rs1,000 monthly stipend if they maintain attendance. Their parents received Rs2,000 from the government on their enrolment,” he said. He said these children had been rescued from bonded labour at kilns and had been provided books, uniform, stationery, shoes and transport facilities. “Children belong in schools, not kilns,” he said.
Shahbaz said the labour minister had been tasked to also eliminate child labour from hotels, workshops and petrol pumps.
Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf demonstration at Charing Cross, the chief minister said the PTI chairman had demanded formation of a judicial commission for accountability. “When the prime minister wrote to the chief justice to set up the commission, he [Imran Khan] started dictating the TORs,” he said. “The prime minister’s children will appear before the commission and reply to allegations against them.”
Addressing the ceremony, Minister for Labour Raja Ashfaq Sarwar said the government had constructed 992 flats for workers at a cost of Rs3 billion in Multan. He said flats were also being constructed in Faisalabad and Nankana Sahib.
Khidmat Cards distributed
The district administration of Bahawalpur issued Khidmat Cards to 1,601 children of 307 families at an inauguration ceremony held at the Commissioner’s Office.
A spokesman of the district administration said the children would be enrolled in schools. “Their parents will be given Rs2,000 when the children are enrolled,” he said. He said Rs1,000 monthly stipend would be provided if the children maintained attendance.
He said the children would also be provided school bags, two sets of uniforms, shoes, books and stationery. The cards were issued to children of kiln workers in Yazman and Bahawalpur tehsils.
In Faisalabad, a ceremony was held at the TMA Hall Lyallpur Town where DCO Salman Ghani distributed Khidmat Cards among brick kiln families. He said 814 children from these families would be enrolled in schools by May 15 under the first phase of the programme.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2016.
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