Kolkata| June 9
That, that child labor is a burgeoning problem was brought to the fore once again during the observance of ‘Child Protection Day’ organized by SCPCR, West Bengal, in partnership with Department of Women Development & Child Development & Social Welfare, UNICEF and civil society organizations. Though much has been achieved, much more is needed to be achieved. In its second year they set forth ‘Stop Child Labour, Start Education’ as their campaign theme.
Yes education is the key. “The Government of West Bengal is already doing commendable work on ensuring that children go to school and complete their education. Education is the key to ensure that every child gets the best start to their lives and can grow to their fullest potential. Whether it is the much-celebrated Kanyashree Prokalpo or the bicycle project, we have made huge strides in the last few years to ensure that the children get enough opportunities and access to quality education,” shared Mr. Asadur Rahman, Chief, UNICEF Office for West Bengal who was here to bear witness to a cultural programme along with senior officials from Government and judiciary, Hon’ble Justice M. B. Lokur (Supreme Court), Hon’ble Minister of State, Dr. Shashi Panja, Women Development & Child Development & Social Welfare, NCPCR Chairperson, Ms. Stuti Kacker, IAS, NCPCR member, Ms. Rupa Kapoor along with our Minister of State, Dr. Shashi Panja and Ms. Roshni Sen, Secretary, DWCD besides the leading NGOs. More than 800 children from 8-9 districts had gathered either performing or watching the performance.
Coordinators of seven districts were felicitated by commissioners as were O and A-level home student pass-outs. Most of the 500 Child inspectorates – 2 per block and village – were also recognized.
On this occasion a report on violation of Rights to Education Act was released. SCPCR Chairperson, Prof. Ashokendu Sengupta stated, “In order to ensure that children stay out of labour, each of us have to play a critical role. The Government or the Commission alone cannot ensure that. We, as citizens and as advocates of child rights, will have to raise voice and take action every time we see children working at homes, at dhabas and on road sides.” He added that abolishing child labor may increase product cost but that is no justification”. Sengupta mentioned the support of District Child Protection Unit and Childline , establishment of 341 block level committees out of possible 349 and also cited a successful resolution. He had met a performing troupe from Alipurduar at the event who had earlier approached him to complain against school atrocities like unreasonable charges levied against development fees. Sengupta intervened and school authorities had desisted from untoward demands.
He also mentioned two ongoing researches – a study on child labour problem in tea gardens which should be out this month-end and an ongoing study on internal migration.