Plan to assist 45,000 child-workers at brick kilns being implemented

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Executive Director Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Saturday said Pakistan government in collaboration with International Labour Organization (ILO), was working to strengthen regulatory framework, institutional capacities and quality of the labour inspection system.

Initially this project is financially supported for Punjab by the Government of Netherlands and will extend its endeavor to support the provincial labour departments of all the four provinces including AJK and Gilgit Baltistan, he said.

Karamat Ali said that Pakistan is signatory to 36 ILO conventions including all eight fundamental conventions.

Besides analyzing and centrally collating, the collected data on labour inspection would also contribute in addressing institutional challenges, he added.

He said that more than 45,000 child-workers were labouring in 11,000 brick kilns across the country.

To a query, he said that around 19,000 children working in brick kilns in Punjab have been enrolled in schools adding there are 6,090 total brick kilns in Punjab.

Meanwhile, according to labour department compiled data, the Punjab government will spend Rs283 million annually to provide the monthly stipends to children working at brick-kilns in Punjab.

He said Rs 47 million will be spent on providing Rs2,000 each to parents of such children.

For provision of medical treatment facilities to children and their parents, the government will also bear transport expenses, he said and added a special educational package for children working at brick kilns has also been approved by the government.

A senior official in labour emergency department told APP that Labour and Human Resource Department had set up a helpline (0800-55444) to receive complaints about child labour at brick kilns.

“So far, we have received 80 complaints. Immediate action was taken on all,” he said. He further said that 21,847 children working at kilns had been enrolled in schools close to their homes.

Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF) General Secretary Syeda Ghulam Fatima said that under the draft law in this connection, kiln owners involved in child labour could be awarded up to six months’ imprisonment.

There will be a summary trial and the kiln owners could be fined up to Rs 0.5 million, she said.

Source: APP