In taluks like Gangavathi and Kushtagi, children are employed in brick kiln industries. These industries hire the whole families on contract basis to make bricks. On an average they are paid Rs 300 per day and are made to work for more than 48 hours a week.
Ravi S, a child worker who is 16 years old said, “We don’t have bathrooms here; we don’t have drinking water facilities. We work for more than 9 hours every day and there are no food arrangements either.”
According to Section 51 of the FactoriesAct, the spread over should not exceed 10-12 hours. These children get skin diseases and have respiratory problems working in such hazardous industries.
Child Development Project Officer of Kushagi (CDPO) stated, “Child Labor is definitely there, I don’t deny that. Many First Information Report (FIR’s) are being filed and taluk and district level squads are being formulated and we are taking rounds every now and then. Still again it goes with parents, they should know more.”
The Child Labor Survey Report ofKoppal District, Karnataka State 2016 – 2017 shows that the total number of cases of child laborer’s are 2489 (round off ). However, only two per cent of them have been rescued.
Working over-time and being paid less is common in these villages. Unionists said that forming a union could be an answer to this.
All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary, Ananth Subbarao, mentioned, “Minimum wages are prescribed by the Government of Karnataka, either they don’t pay the wages or if they pay, the wages are for minimum eight hours of work, but they are made to work for 12 hours. So it’s the union that makes the difference.”
Parents said that one person’s earning isn’t sufficient to run a family. So they send their kids to work as well.