BERHAMPUR: With reports of children being engaged in campaigning in rural areas, Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), Odisha, has written to major political parties of the State to refrain from the practice.
However, it has not yielded positive results. CACL convener Sudhir Sabat said the Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha has already been apprised of the matter with a request to take steps to stop use of children during campaigning by political parties.
As per a survey conducted by CACL, he said, children are used as cheap substitute for paid labour by politicians for pasting posters, hanging banners, distributing pamphlets and even participating in rallies.
“When someone in the family is a political activist, children often get dragged into the election campaign process,” Sabat said. Children from poor families mostly get involved in the election campaign process for easy money. “These children spend a good time in the campaign process for `50 to `100 and food,” he said.
Since it is much cheaper than engaging adults who charge around `500 with food, children, despite getting lesser remuneration, are more energetic and enthusiastic during campaigning.
Though use of children under 14 years of age in election campaigns is a crime as per the Juvenile Justice Act and Odisha has targeted to end child labour in the State by 2025, no political party or administration seems bothered by the blatant violation of norms, Sabat said.