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58 Children, with Burnt Hands, Rescued from Liquor Plant in Raisen District in Madhya Pradesh

•NCPCR conducted the raid on the complaint by Bachpan Bachao Andolan •19 girls among the 58 rescued children •Most children had burnt hands due to exposure to harsh chemicals

By: Ruchi Upadhyay  Pardaphash Group
58 Children, with Burnt Hands, Rescued from Liquor Plant in Raisen District in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh: In one of the most shocking and significant crackdowns on child labour in liquor industry ever, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), along with the Association of Voluntary Action, also known as Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), rescued 58 children who were working in a liquor distillation plant in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. Acting on information provided by BBA, the team led by NCPCR Chairman Priyank Kanoongo rescued 19 girls and 39 boys from ‘Som Distillery’. The legal process has been initiated, and the children have been shifted to safety.

Children with severely burnt and wounded hands from exposure to harsh chemicals and alcohol were transported daily by their employer in a school bus, where they worked for 12-14 hours every day. When asked, the children confessed that they were hardly paid any wages. It needs to be mentioned here that SOM Distilleries & Breweries is an ISO-certified group of companies for manufacturing and supplying of beer, IMFL (India Made Foreign Liquor) and RTD (Ready To Drink).

Legal action has also been initiated against the Excise Officer, whose office was in the premises of the distillery. As per government norms, it is mandatory for an excise officer to be present in the premises of the distillery to supervise the working and operations of the unit.

Talking about the rescue operation, Manish Sharma, Director of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, who was also part of the team, said, “The stench of alcohol and chemicals was unbearable for us adults. It is unimaginable how the children were working in these conditions for such long hours every day. We appeal for extremely strict actions against the employers so that it sets an example for others too. We will continue to rescue children from such harsh conditions consistently, but the country needs stricter trafficking and child labour laws and more vigilance. It is our appeal to the government to take the sternest steps to end child trafficking and child labour, and stop this gravest form of injustice to children.”

It must be noted here that on June 14 this year, NCPCR, on the complaint of BBA, rescued 36 children, including 25 girls, from three factories in Mandideep town in the same district. June has been declared ‘Action Month Against Child Labour’ by NCPCR and BBA has been collaborating with the Commission in rescuing children from labour and trafficking across the country.

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