The above headlines are not coming for the first time nor this is the end of it. Every year numerous illegal firecracker factories mushroom in the one room of any crowded area during Diwali and such incidents are common place.
The tragic part is that the factory owners hire children to manufacture these firecrackers. They are from age group 5 to 15. They work clandestinely to circumvent the Child labor Prohibitive and regulatory act 1986 which was updated in 2007. As per this law no child below the age of 14 can be made to work in restaurants, hotels, resorts or as domestic help. Factories are obviously not allowed.
But laws are made to be broken. Nearly 20% children work as domestic help. There are nearly 12 million child labor in India. Most of them belong to the poor states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa… where the labor contractor pays a lump sum to the poor parents for their child.
He is bought to the big cities and made to work in atrocious conditions with one meal a day and herded in a hall where he shares his space with many like him. They are cheap labor sometimes getting 18 to 20 rupees per day or just a meal. Their working hours are from 16 to 18 hours sometimes even more. They do not get any holiday and God Forbid if any of them fall ill.
Why as a society we have become so insensitive and indifferent to the plight of Child labor? We will spend thousands in buying crackers without even thinking about the small hands which are calloused and bleeding because these firecrackers are made by small children who work with dangerous raw material and techniques.
If our child is punished for not studying we call it a corporal punishment and are ready to confront the school even informing the police. Why are we turning a blind eye to these poor children’s pathetic conditions?
Please this Diwali you can take a small step. You can easily give one poor child a new dress not something discarded and you can make his day by feeding him the same food which you are having ,not the left overs.
To banish child labor altogether is not possible because the money they earn however little feed their families in the village and secondly ,but most importantly there is no rehabilitation policy for the children rescued from such factories.Once freed without any means of income they will again fall prey to any wily labour contractor. Again and again the story will be repeated.
This Diwali just start with a small step and you will find sky is the limit.