Shillong, February 8: Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Friday admitted the prevalence of child labour in the state but said a mechanism has been put in place to ensure that the state is completely free of the social malaise.
Tynsong also hit out at an NGO for its claim to have detected 70,000 cases of child labour in the coal mines of the northeastern state.
“The government does not say that there is no child labour here. We do have. But the fact is that a mechanism is now in place.
“We have constituted district task forces headed by deputy commissioners and there is enough manpower. Labour inspectors are posted in each of the 46 blocks and we hope that the state will be a child labour free state,” he said.
The deputy chief minister was addressing a workshop, jointly organized by the National Human Rights Commission and the states labour department, on the eradication of bonded labour and child labour.
During 2010-11, the Planning Commission had asked for a clarification from the state government on a report of a city-based NGO, which claimed to have detected over 70,000 children working in the coal mines, the deputy chief minister said.
He said the cabinet had taken up the matter and a report was sought within a week.
“When the report came, it was found to be untrue. I do not know how they (NGO) collected the information,” he said.
Labour Commissioner B Mawlong said the NGO report was “far-fetched” but admitted that instances of child labour have been detected from time to time in Jaintia Hills district.
Labour inspectors have conducted over 31,600 inspections and a state protocol on child labour has been published on how to prevent, rescue children from getting forced into labour and also to assist the victims, Mawlong said. (PTI)