By Subir Roy
What can a teenage do? He or she can only read, write, play and can enjoy the entertaining moment. But Suman, Renu, Suju and Ramu do not have the opportunity to think even for their own life.
Barely in their teens they have learnt the essential art of surviving. They have learnt to fight against hunger, against inclement weather, against fatigue and even against those childish impulses which has taught them what actually the life is.
Welcome to our country where child labor flourishes. Work, work and more work that is the mantra at countless industries. Twenty Rupees for ten hours of back-breaking work that is the deal served to Suman, Renu, Suju and Ramu. But their lips are sealed in fear. They hesitate to share their owes with others.
As one child said, “When we fall ill our malik (owner of the shop) does not pay us for medicine. We are bound to continue our work for money.”
So these children who can not go to school, go without proper nutrition, clothing and basic medication continue to remain invisible. They always remain beyond the preview of the administration.
One child who is working as a maid in a house said, “I have been brought from nearby village by one of my neighbors. As I know he also gets commission from my salary.” Many other children interviewed have the same story to tell.
Many teenagers in the town are working as a bus conductor. When asked they said that some of them have been working for more than three years due to their poverty while some are compelled to work as a bus conductor. But they are not interested to explain the reason behind it.
The graph of child labor is going up day by day. Every day the newspapers contain at least one item related to child labor or child abuse. There are many cases of teenage maid sexual harassment.
Being knowing all these things through media why the government is sleeping? Why do the govt. officials not investigate the matter properly. Why no punitive measures are being taken against those owners who are still employing child laborers in their industries, shops etc. Why do they not direct their eyes to those who are very much eager to feed their own child and snatch the food of the others.