LAHORE: Labour and Human Resource Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar said on Thursday the provincial government was determined to curb all kinds of child labour.
“The Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Ordinance, 2016, will be enforced in its letter and spirit,” the minister said while chairing the second meeting of a steering committee, formed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, to check child labour at auto workshops, hotels and restaurants, petrol pumps and service stations.
Sarwar said the children rescued from child labour at such places were being enrolled at schools. Their families would be provided financial incentives and stipends, he said. Committee Co-convener Zahid Saeed, the chief secretary, approved recommendations to delegate inspection powers to the DCOs and DPOs. Assistant commissioners (ACs) and sub-divisional police officers (SDPOs) would have similar powers at tehsil level to monitor those employing children in the aforementioned sectors.
Once a notification is issued in this regard, the inspectors – consisting of DCO, DPOs, ACs and SDPOs – would start inspecting auto workshops, petrol pumps, service stations, hotels and restaurants across the province.
Labour Secretary Suhail Shahzad briefed the participants about the enforcement plan. He said the Labour Department, in collaboration with the Bureau of Statistics, had conducted a Provincial Child Labour Survey in this regard.
In the first phase, data has been collected about children, between five and 14 years of age, working in 10 districts. The districts are Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalnagar, Hafizabad, Okara, Sheikhupura, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Sialkot, Gujranwala and Multan.
The secretary said there was a proposal to pay Rs2,000 to the parents of children at the time of their enrolment at schools. Rs2,000 a month would be given to the children who would continue their studies, he said.
The adolescents identified in the survey will be enrolled at vocational training institutes of the Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) and the Technical Education and Vocational Authority (TEVTA) under the Literacy-cum Skills Training Programme. They will be enrolled in the evening shifts so that the might continue to work during the day. Appropriate jobs will also be provided for them, the secretary said.
Project Director Saeed Ahmad Wattoo said the second phase of the survey in 13 districts was almost complete. The third and final phase in the remaining 13 districts will be completed by September 15.
The participants also discussed matters related to third party validation (TPV) of the child labour survey at brick kilns, enrolment of children of brick kiln labourers and issuance of Khidmat Cards.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2016.
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