HYDERABAD: The children who have been rescued from abusive bonded child labour in the city’s bangle making units at Balapur will get a new lease of life as the Rangareddy district administration has sent over 67 of them back to their parent state, Bihar, on Monday from the Secunderabad railway station.
The children, mostly belonging to the SC communities in Bihar, were rescued in July from Balapur after the Rachakonda police conducted a raid on the units at various locations and nabbed six persons.
This will be the first time since 2014 that such a large number of children was rescued and given ‘release certificates’ which is given to those identified as ‘bonded labourers’. These entitle them to Rs 25,000 of interim relief along with total compensation of up to Rs 3 lakh.
The district administration had kept the children in State care at Saidabad boys home. The district child protection units and the Child Welfare Committees (CWC) contacted their parents and got the relevant documentation to initiate the process that certified them as ‘bonded labour’. “The children were in extremely pathetic condition as they remained locked up in one room and were not allowed to go out or take breaks in their shift from 6 am to 11 pm,” informed Saidulu E from the district child protection unit, Rangareddy.
However, ironically, these children revealed to the officials that life was worse back home, and they did this job for a basic minimum standard of living. “The children told us that they barely got food at home, but here, they were at least given rice three times a day,” said A Venkateshwaralu, state coordinator of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
“In 2015, the Hyderabad police rescued over 200 children from child labour in bangle-making units at Talabkatta area. This time it was the same operators who shifted their base to Balapur area where they built small sheds on the occupied lands of the lake and ran these units,” said Venkateshwaralu. All those rescued then were boys, and 45 of them were under the age of 14 years.