The district administrations from Ganjam and Gajapati have rescued around 49 child labourers on Thursday.
The child labourers have been rescued from Ganjam’s Berhampur and Gajapati’s Paralakhemundi.
“Out of 49 children, 22 children, including 20 from Bihar were working in gupchup and sugarcane processing units in Berhampur while rest 27 were rescued from hotels, restaurants, bars, wielding workshops and garages in Paralakhemundi,” said Arun Tripathy, Child Protection Officer, Gajapati.
“The age of the rescued children is between 7 and 18,” he added.
The squad of district labour officer (DLO), chairman, district child welfare committee, district child protection officer (DCPO), police and campaigners of NGO ISRD-Childline raided five gupchup and sugarcane processing units at Tulasi Nagar, Niladri Vihar and Somanath Nagar in Berhampur.
While two of the rescued children in Berhampur were from Ganjam, others belong to Darbhanga and Samastipur in Bihar. Most of them are illiterate and school dropouts and were working here for two to three years, said Prabhu Prasad Patra, coordinator, ISRD-Childline.
“We noticed they were working in very deplorable and hazardous conditions,” said DCPO (Ganjam) Subodh Kumar Sarangi.
“We will prosecute owners of the units on the charges of engaging children in hazardous units, said DLO (Ganjam) Kalpana Mishra.
“We are trying to send the two Bihar children to their state,” said Sarangi.
State convener of NGO Campaign Against Child Labour Sudhir Sabat said, “We identified the units, where the child labourers were working. The list was submitted to the DLOs to conduct raids.”
The district level coordination committee on implementation of action plan for elimination of child labour in Ganjam had decided in its first meeting in February to make Berhampur the ‘first child labour free’ town in the district.