LAHORE - The Punjab government has approved delegation of powers to the District Coordination Officers (DCOs) and District Police Officers (DPOs) to inspect and take action at the hotels, restaurants, petrol stations, service stations, and the auto workshops where child labour is going on in violation of the law.

Powers have been given to the said district administrative and police officers under the Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Ordinance 2016. At Tehsil level in Punjab, the same powers have been entrusted to Assistant Commissioners (ACs) and Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPOs).

After launching crackdown at the brick kilns to end child labour and put the kids to schools with financial assistance to their respective parents, this is the second phase of the government programme to totally eliminate child labour in the province.

Soon after the issuance of notification in this regard, these inspectors comprising DCO, DPOs, ACs and SDPOs will be able to start inspections of auto workshops, petrol pumps and service stations, hotels and restaurants throughout the province.

A steering committee has also been constituted under the instructions of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the head of Minister for Labour and Human Rights Raja Ashfaq Sawar.

Punjab Chief Secretary, the Co-Convener of the committee, will is responsible for all affairs of the child labour , and to monitor implementation of the law and ensure that all perform their duties with dedication to eradicate child labour in the province which is damaging the country’s image.

The government has planned to shift the children, from five to 14 years of age, to schools from labour at this tender age. Hefty Rs16billion have been allocated for this project wherein all school expenses and the needs of the children would be borne by the government, and Rs1,000 per month will be given to the parents as means to compensate the loss which they faced due to loss of job of the kids.

So far, the government has eliminated child labour at brick kilns to a large extent.

In the second round of implementation of the Ordinance the same educational and financial facilities will be available to the hotels and stations’ kids and their families as got those engaged in brick kilns labour.

The labour department, in collaboration with Bureau of Statistics (BOS), has begun to conduct Provincial Child Labour Survey after it has collected authentic data in the first phase of survey about the child labourers at auto workshops, hotels and restaurants, petrol pumps and service stations of 10 districts - Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalnagar, Hafiz Abad ,Okara, Sheikhupura, Rahim Yar khan, Khanewal, Sialkot, Gujranwala, and Multan.

The committee in its meeting also looked into the proposal of giving Rs2,000 to the parents of children enrolled in school as encouragement once at admission whereas Rs2,000 per month as stipend to those enrolled children who will continue their studies at regular basis.

The adolescents identified in this survey will be enrolled under Literacy cum Skills Training Program in Vocational Trainings Institutes of Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC), TEVTA and other skills training bodies in the evening shifts so that they may continue to earn their living in day time.

Suitable jobs with better income package will also be ensured to the adolescents having good potential.

According to Project Director Dr. Saeed Ahmad Watto, in the 2nd phase of baseline survey by BOS in next 13 districts about child labour is almost complete; whereas 3rd and final phase of the survey of remaining 13 districts will be completed till September 15th.

The proposal of holding a Third Party Validation (TPV) of the child labour survey of brick kilns, enrolment of new children of brick kilns labourers in schools and issuance of Khidmat Cards to them, are also on the table.