Child labour elimination mission: CM

LAHORE:Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said complete elimination of child labour from brick kilns is his mission. He said pen and book instead of brick would be given in the hands of innocent children. He said all-out resources would be provided for equipping the children with education. He directed that indiscriminate action should be continued against owners of brick kilns involved in child labour. The chief minister said ministers, elected representatives, police and administration should ensure complete elimination of child labour from brick kilns. He said inspection of brick kilns should be continued regularly and strict action should be taken on the violation of law. He expressed these views while addressing a meeting of the Steering Committee set up for elimination of child labour from brick kilns at the Civil Secretariat through video conference on Saturday.

Shahbaz Sharif said Punjab government had given a revolutionary package of free education and other educational expenses for the children working at brick kilns. He said Rs 2,000 would be given to the parents on the admission of children in schools while Rs 1,000 would be given to every child going to school. He said  stationery, books and uniform would be provided free of cost to the children going to school. The chief minister said free educational package would be implemented from the commencement of new academic year which was starting from April. He  said taking labour from minors at brick kilns would not be tolerated. Shahbaz said he was personally monitoring steps being taken for elimination of child labour. He directed that the campaign for elimination of child labour should be continued in an effective manner and on receiving complaints of child labour, the brick kiln should be sealed and owner arrested.

He said all the concerned departments should work with a mutual coordination.  The chief minister said district officers showing good performance for elimination of child labour would be encouraged while poor performers would be held accountable. He directed that a comprehensive plan should be evolved for eliminating child labour from hotels, workshops and other professions and final recommendations be formulated and submitted within 30 days. Shahbaz Sharif said concerned departments had to play their effective role for eliminating child labour from brick kilns and bonded labour from other professions therefore method should be evolved for prior steps in this regard.

Secretary Labour gave a briefing regarding the progress on the steps being taken for elimination of child labour from brick kilns. He told the media that 3,051 brick kilns had been inspected in Punjab. He said about 519 cases were registered on taking child labour and 441 kiln owners and managers had been arrested. Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah, Ch.Muhammad Shafiq, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, Inspector General Police, concerned secretaries and senior officials attended the meeting held at the Civil Secretariat through video link while Provincial Minister for Labour Raja Ashfaq Sarwar attended the meeting from Rawalpindi through video link.

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