TIRUCHY: At a time when authorities are trying to put an end to child labour, roadside eateries in the city are luring school children to work during the night. As there is no inspection during the nights, it apparently emboldens such joints to employ kids.
Children are given work like washing plates and serving food in the eating joints. Since the eateries function only for three to four hours, the kids are given only a meagre amount as wages.
"These children aged between 12 and 14 are from very poor families. They go to school during morning hours and work in the eateries at night. Parents themselves are sending their kids to work for making a quick buck," said a source.
"School children are seen working in night-time eateries located on Big Bazaar Street, Thennur High Road, Thillai Nagar Main Road, Junction, Palakkarai and Woraiyur. As far as wages go, some eateries pay `100, while others pay `150 with food," the source added.
Poverty and low family income force the children to work in the eateries. "I am studying Class IX in a government school and doing a part-time job. I have to work for just three to four hours and will get `100 with food," said a boy, who works in an eatery on Thillai Nagar Main Road. However, he said that the owner had instructed him to tell those who ask that he was aged 18.
"My parents are construction labourers and we have debts. So, my father said his friend is operating a night-time eatery near Big Bazaar Street and asked me to work there," said Somu (name changed).
Speaking to Express, S Thyagarajan, coordinator of nodal agency ChildLine said, "If children take up jobs, they can't focus on studies. Worse, if they get money in their hands, it would prompt them to drop out of school."