Fight against child labour
Jharna Joshi, bachelors of business administration (BBA) student is just 22 year old. She is too young expose the execrable practice of child labour being carried out in one of the biggest ceramic units in Morbi. This brave girl from Ahemdabad has exposed the scourge that government agencies have conveniently turned a blind eye to.
Jharna alone had undertaken a secret operation to rescue as many as 111 child labourers from one of the biggest ceramic units in Morbi. The children, of whom 100 were girls, were rescued from the Sonaki ceramic unit on Friday.
Talking to TOI, Jharna said that she started suspecting something was amiss when she saw buses transporting large numbers of children passing near her cousin’s house in a village near Morbi. “I came to my cousin’s house in Morbi in the first week of April to spend my vacation. One morning, I saw children being transported in buses. These were not school buses so I followed the bus and found that they were being taken to a factory.”
She then applied for a job job in the unit to find out the age of these children and the conditions they were working in.
“I told them that I was a management student and applied for office work.
However, they had no vacancy and offered me work in pasting and design of cups and saucers. In 15 days, I saw most of these children were below 18 years and they were forced to work in hostile conditions.”
Jharna is a second-year student of the Himmatnagar-based College. She said that “Many were even made to work in high temperature areas like furnaces. Even in such scorching summer, they were not even given cold water to drink”.
After knowing the conditions, Jharna approached departments concerned but did not get a satisfactory response. “So, I wrote to the chief minister’s office and personally visited Gandhinagar on May 24. Finally, I was assured that the action would be taken on Friday,” she said.
Officials of social defence, police department, labour and employment department, factory inspector and child protection officer jointly raided the unit and rescued the children from the unit located on Ghuntu Road in Morbi town.
“We have initiated a process to verify children’s age group. This was the biggest rescue operation so far in Saurashtra,” said M C Karia, deputy labour commissioner, Rajkot region.
Source: Times of India