Green flag campaign to end child labour

-Bimal Bahadur Bista

Doti, April 8: The Dipayal Silgadhi municipality in Doti of Far-West State has launched a ‘green flag’ campaign in a bid to end the practice of child labour. Under the campaign, a green flag is placed in a home not employing child labour (s). The move aims to make the entire district free from the prevalence of child labor. Dipayal Siligadhi-4 ward chair Birendra Shah placed green flags at houses and shops with no child worker (s) in Pipalla and Raipur as a mark of the commencement of the drive on Sunday. He announced that families keeping the child workers shall be deprived of facilities from the local government. Former mayor and Nepali Congress leader Ghanashyam Pathak termed the campaign welcoming. According to him, not only common folks, but some people’s representatives have child workers at their home and it must be ended. Though the municipality had been taking preventive measures against the child labour since long, it had not been successful, ward secretary Bharat Nepali said. In his opinion, people should be made aware that keeping child labour is against the law. According to local Bharat Pathak, there are at least 20-30 child workers at Pipalla, the major trade center in the municipality, and Rajpur. “Only campaign is not enough to wipe out the practice, strong laws against it are needed.” Municipality social development officer Ramesh Joshi said the local government is working in consultation with bodies concerned to enact laws against child labour. “A work plan has been prepared for the prohibition of child labour and it will come into force soon,” he said. The municipality data shows 60 child workers have been found inside the town. Earlier, a task force formed with the participation of journalists, security people, human rights activists and people’s representatives recommended a 14-point suggestion to the municipality, proposing to deprive the families keeping child labour of facilities, fine them and publishing the documents listing thir three generations and so on. As locals said, wards no 4, 6 and 9 in Dipayal Silgadhi which serves as the district headquarters of Doti, are ahead in terms of the practice of child labour. Children from impoverished families and without parents and guardians are working as (child) workers here. Minors are forced to work as domestic help in the name of looking after and sending them to schools. Some children are working in hotel and shops. The municipality in the current fiscal year allocated one million rupees to support in the livelihoods of the poverty-stricken families and those whose children are working as child workers. According to Mayor Manju Malasi, arrangements have been made to send rescued child workers to home. “But we still lack the exact number of child labours, and personal details of all will be sought in the next round and it will help us seek the legal remedy against the practice.”

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