PMC school students complain about forced labour

ST CORRESPONDENT 
Thursday, 13 June 2019

The interaction, ‘Bal Jan Mat’ was organised by the NGO Action for the Rights of the Children

Pune: Around 150 children from around 50 schools in different parts of the city interacted with the Deputy Mayor and PMC officials on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour, 
on Wednesday.

The interaction, ‘Bal Jan Mat’ was organised by the NGO Action for the Rights of the Children (ARC), in collaboration with the PMC, to give a platform to the students of PMC schools to speak directly with the officials and voice their problems.

“What could you do about the children forced to work due to their poor financial background or those forced to work in their family businesses?” asked many of the children, to which the officials answered by assuring that proper action will be taken if there are complaints regarding the same.

While the action taken by the government and the civic body against child labour was one of the main issues discussed at the event, the children also voiced their grievances regarding the quality of food provided at the schools, absence of teachers and other issues. “There is a lot of rush outside our schools when we leave for the day. It creates a lot of chaos and it is not at all safe for the children. There is hardly anyone present to look after the students, putting us, especially the younger ones, at risk,” said one of the children.

Responding to the same, PMC Education Officer (Secondary) Deepak Mali said that the transport committee and the staff members of the schools will be told to look after the safety of the children when they leave the premises.

Another student also complained that there were worms in the food that was served to the children as a mid-day meal. “We complained but we did not receive any response,” asserted the girl.

Deputy Mayor Siddharth Dhende assured her and all the other children that he will personally look into the matter and ensure that the meal served is safe and healthy.

Speaking at the end of the event, Dhende applauded the effort by ARC and said, “I am very happy that the children expressed their hearts out here. We will do whatever possible in our power to make our schools an even better place for these children and see to it that all their grievances are resolved.”

He said along with the PMC, the parents too have a big role to play in the children’s development and the civic body will try to spread awareness among the parents too.

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