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Times of India
In 214 raids,only 135 child workers freed

Neha Madaan TNN

Pune: Of the 135 child labourers rescued from Pune district since 2006,at least 75% were employed in hazardous occupations and processes in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.The rescue was conducted by the labour commissionerate along with NGOs.
As many as 214 raids were conducted by the department at 5,107 establishments resulted in the rescue of 135 child labourers and 55 adolescent labourers above 14 years of age in the past seven years.
However,NGOs working for child welfare have said the numbers were not reflective as at least eight to 10 such children employed in odd jobs are picked up daily from railway stations.NGO representatives said they regularly receive several complaints about child labourers at traffic lights,in eateries and retail outlets.
According to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation ) Act,1986 Section 3,employment of children below 14 years of age is not allowed.The law prohibits the employment of underaged children in 16 occupations and 65 processes considered hazardous to the health and psyche of the child.
Officials maintained that data had shown a gradual decrease in child labour since the past few years.
An official of the labour commissionerate said rescued children were handed over to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) under the department of women and child development for rehabilitation.The children were rescued from hazardous occupations and processes such as restaurants,garages,dhabas on highway and brick kilns in the district.Of these,75% were rescued from establishments in Pune city and Pimpri Chinchwad.In the recent years,employment of children in homes for domestic labour has also been banned, he said.Mass raids were conducted in certain pockets,such as Yerawada,Ahmednagar Road,Hadapsar,dhabas on highways and eateries in city area on the basis of complaints.
Ingrid Mendonca,committee member,Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC) said,The raids conducted by the authorities are few.Many child labourers are found at traffic signals and railway stations.Hence,the 135 child labourers rescued since 2006 gives an unrealistic picture when child labour is rampant.
Mendonca added that a citybased NGO working with street children picks up at least eight to 10 such children employed in odd jobs daily from railway stations.The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act is weak and does not include all children,those between 14 to 18 years,under its purview.Campaign Against Child Labour,a national network of 600 NGOs working on child labour across the country,will soon discuss changes in the law to ensure that all children below 18 years be protected from child labour, said Mendonca.
Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe of Dnyana Devi Childline said that she had received around four to five child labour complaints per week,with chances of each complaint involving more than one child.These complaints involve children employed at small snack bars across the city and retail outlets in Peth areas.We have also had recent cases of children being trafficked,bonded and sexually abused by employers.Most children are from Uttar Pradesh,Bihar and Rajasthan, said Sahasrabuddhe.

The rescue operation


ARC has planned to meet the district collector on April 30,which is Anti-Child Labour Day.Around 120 children from around 20 NGOs in the city will take part.Over 100 children from different slums of Pune will protest against employment of children outside the collectorate.

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Event for underprivileged children held - The Times of India
PUNE: The Pune-based non-governmental organization (NGO) Action for Rights of the Child organized an entertainment programme for the underprivileged children in the city on Friday.

Several NGOs working in the city with underprivileged children brought them to the event. A film titled 'Tiger' by Shekhar Dattatri was screened for these children while a nature walk and a quiz competition was also organized.

The day-long event was attended by over 50 children from the city, a statement released by Action for Rights of the Child stated. The activities were aimed at inculcating a basic understanding of nature among children, through tree walks, quiz competitions and various games.

Children associated with the NGOs included Identity Foundation, Swadhar, Dyandevi Childline, Nivara, Tara Mobile Crech, Sevadham Trust and Asha Kiran Foundation participated in the event.
During the day, the children were engaged in different activities. A tree walk was conducted on the campus of Indradhanushya centre to help children identify prominent trees in the city and understand their association with birds, insects among others.

A game called 'Who Am I?,' introducing various creatures and a bird call quiz to identify commonly found birds in the city got a good response. Through these games, messages of a healthy lifestyle such as cutting the nails regularly, washing hands before eating among others were imparted to these children.

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ARC news in Pune Mirror 13th january, 2013
It’s disadvantage disabled students
While Delhi and other States extended the ambit of the disadvantaged to include students with disablities under the RTE Act, Mah government refuse to broaden the scope of its interpretation Ketaki.Latkar @timesgroup.com

It seems the decision-making bodies in the State have conveniently misinterpreted the Right to Education (RTE) Act as far as the inclusion of disabled students in the 25 per cent mandatory quota for the disadvantaged group is concerned. While issuing the guidelines to the schools, the State government has kept students with disabilities out of its purview.

This is in sharp contrast to the Delhi model in which the government has included the disabled students in the 25 per cent quota for disadvantaged group . According to city educationists, the guidelines issued by the State Department of School Education are in violation of the Act. Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC), a city-based network of NGOs that works for child rights and welfare, has written to the Principal Secretary, Maharashtra Education Department, the State Project Director, the Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad (MPSP) and the Maharashtra Government RTE representatives pointing out the flaws in the implementation of the Act. Dr John Kurrien, member, ARC, said, “The amendment to the RTE Act that was issued on June 19, 2012, clearly extended the ambit of the definition of the word ‘disadvantaged’. In addition to children from weaker sections, it was also extended to children with not just physical but also mental disabilities. The Act is clear about the inclusion, however, the Maharashtra government hasn’t taken cognisance of the mandate and has issued the guidelines in violation of the Act.”

Tapas Sutradhar, co-ordinator, ARC, said, “The State government has failed to include disabled students within the ambit of the disadvantaged group. While Delhi and some other States have abided by the Act, Maharashtra has refused to extend the scope of its interpretation in letter and spirit.”

Demanding the State to clear its stand over the issue, education activist Dipanwita Sengupta said, “There needs to be a conformity about the definitions of disadvantaged students, minority schools, and weaker sections and so on. Issuing constant Government Resolutions is not the solution,” said Sengupta. While a former education official believes the guidelines do not include any quota for the disabled students, a principal of a city-based school opines that a balance has to be maintained.

Shridhar Salunke, former director of education, said, “The guidelines are fair and feasible. They have not included students with disability in the 25 per cent reservation. The quota is primarily for children below poverty line and other underprivileged classes.” Kamini Saxena, principal, Shamrao Kalmadi School, said, “The practicality of the situation needs to be taken into consideration. A balance needs to be exercised so that other children don’t suffer. If children with special needs exhibit aggression, it can get difficult.”

Ex-officials say the quota is for the kids below poverty line and not for the disabledkids

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24 March,13-Ind Express
Wastepickers continue stir, PCMC ‘oblivious’ to plight
Express news service Posted online: Sun Mar 24 2013, 00:42 hrs
Over 200 workers from Pimpri Chinchwad joined waste pickers on Saturday afternoon outside the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation office. The indefinite agitation entered the fourth day on Saturday. Despite threats and harassment from contractors, a large number of workers are speaking out, said Maitreyi Shankar, Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) member. The wastepickers said PCMC is not responding to their desperate pleas.

“Over the past 4 months, KKPKP has repeatedly brought to notice of the PCMC authorities that workers were being paid wages between Rs 50 and 100 per day instead of Rs 254 stipulated under the Minimum Wages Act. Having received no response from the PCMC, KKPKP decided to hold the indefinite dharna from March 20,” said Laxmi Narayan, KKPKP member.

“A private company has continued with its intimidation tactics and terminated a worker this morning without reason. She lodged a complaint with the Labour Welfare Officer of the PCMC,” Shankar said.

The workers have not stopped waste collection though. “We know that the lanes of our city remain clean because of work we do and stopping work for even a day could be disastrous,” a waste picker said.

The drivers, who are part of the waste collection system under the contractors, expressed solidarity with them. Subhash Sarin, general secretary, PCMC Kamgaar Union issued a letter extending support. Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC), a network of groups working on child rights has also endorsed the demands of waste pickers. “When livelihoods of parents are threatened, children are forced to drop out of schools,” said a member of the governing body of ARC.

A team of wastepickers also met Labour Minister Hasan Mushrif and handed over a memorandum of their demands. “The minister has issued a letter to the PCMC Commissioner to look into the matter immediately and ensure justice,” Shankar said.

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