LAHORE - Implementing the Restriction on Employment of Children Ordinance 2016 appears to be a daunting task for the Punjab government, which aims to offer double allowance for child labourers working in different factories and workshops to get them enrolled.

Ina bid to eliminate child labour from brick kilns, the provincial government has offered Rs1000 for each child; while for the three identified sectors - auto workshops, fuel pumps, hotels/restaurants - the amount will likely to be doubled.

There are 17954 factories/workshops in Punjab and 3857 are in Lahore division alone, where children aging from 15 to 18 are employed.

Minister for Labour and Human Resources Raja Ashfaq Sarwar told The Nation yesterday that the Punjab Bureau of Statistics was conducting surveys to collect data of child labours working in these major sectors. “Our aim is to admit the child labourers with offering double allowance and it has been discussed in a steering committee but no final decision has been made,” he said.

“The government is committed to root out the child labourers from these three sectors,” he added.

A steering committee was formed under chairmanship of the Labour minister along with the chief secretary to eliminate child labour from auto workshops, hotels, restaurants and fuel pumps.

The government is collecting the data from the respective districts, and till date 10 districts data have been collected while 13 districts data will be compiled by August 17. The remaining 13 districts data will be compiled by Sept 15.

A third party validation option is also on the table to verify the data, according to an official of Labour department.

Sheikhupura District Officer Ch Naeem said that there were 1076 children identified so far and “by next week we would dispatch data to the department”.

“Those child labourers will be offered school enrolment or skill development training from Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) which is already training 69,000 children, from age 14 to 18,” he added.

The City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has asked all the owners of the shops and places where children from age 15 to 18 have been working to submit record by August 12. And if they will not submit the data then they will be in prison for one month or Rs10,000 fine will be imposed or both. Same fine will be for those who will not register or compile the data of children working in their places.

There are 28 hazardous works identified in ordinance where children are prohibited to work.

Lahore DCO Capt (r) Muhammad Usman also chaired a meeting to review the implementation of the Punjab Restriction on Employment of Children Ordinance 2016 from August 14. Secretary Labour and Human Resource nominated Lahore DCO and Lahore CCPO to act against those who are violating the ordinance.

In Tehsils, ASP/DSP and assistant commissioners are given powers of sub-inspector. The committee also decided to take stern action against violators.