Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SP)
Mangaluru, Nov 27: People passing by signals and bus stands routinely come across children nagging them with requests to buy stickers and such other things from them. They try to earn sympathy by claiming they have not consumed food. They sell pens, stickers etc that are not very costly so people often buy them, mainly to help the children to have food and sympathise with their condition. But the fact that these children are minors, who should have been in schools at this time, is worrying.
This kind of roadside business began with the relaxation of lockdown. Even though schools are functioning now, these children are seen doing business near signals and other places where vehicles and pedestrians stop for a while. In the signals, the children do business under dangerous circumstances by moving between vehicles that are ready to zoom past once the signal lights change. It is true that they also prove to be obstacles for the vehicles. The fact that various departments linked with child welfare like education, labour, women and child development and police are silent about them, has proved to be a boon for their families.
If the children are approached with questions about schooling, they claim to be attending schools like car street school, Kudroli school, Bunder school etc. If we want to know their reason for not being in the school, their stock reply would be holiday. Many of them reside in Hoige Bazar, Kudroli, Ullal etc and they are originally from villages located close to Tamil Nadu border. Their parents usually go to the dock for work and the children earn this way.
There are also teams selling pens, towels, mobile stands and other things at signals. These teams have male and female children apart from young women, elders, aged ones etc in their teams. They are not locals, and reside in tents pitched in footpaths or grounds.
President of the Child Welfare Committee, Renny D'Souza, says that these nomads stay here for a short period and go elsewhere. He says that there is a provision to register cases against people compelling children to work and that the child line has been rescuing them with the help of the police and providing them rehabilitation. He said that different departments need to undertake operations and stop such activities.