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It’s a good news that the Punjab government will start distributing stipend among workers for sending their children to schools instead of making them work at brick kilns from April 1.

The step is part of the Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Brick Kilns Ordinance 2016 implementation.

The government has finalised distribution of two kinds of stipends for the kiln workers if they will ensure retention/attendance of their kids in schools. The first stipend of Rs2,000 will be given to the parents for one time alone for agreeing to send their kids to school. The second stipend of Rs3,000 (per child) will be awarded to the parents on a quarterly basis for ensuring retention of their children in schools. And if the parents fail to ensure attendance of their child in schools, the offer may be withdrawn.

“It has been decided last week that the City District Government of Lahore’s education and labour wings will start giving stipends to the parents from April 1. And this will help the government in eliminating child labour, sending workers’ kids to schools and improving literacy ratio as well,” CDGL’s District Officer (Labour) Hasnat Javaid said.

If we talk about Lahore alone, there are 160 brick kilns being run by various people on Raiwind Road, Multan Road, Shahdara, Bund Road and other localities. Each kiln has the workforce of dozens of families and they engage their children to augment their daily income.

The kiln associations have been protesting the government action and say they are not involved in child labour. They have presented various suggestions with a request to the government to incorporate them in the ordinance. “Actually the kiln owners had raised concerns at the way enforcement of the ordinance is being done by raiding kilns and arresting the owners for no fault of theirs.”

Last week, senior officials of the CDGL and town municipal administrations (TMAs) were directed to ensure regular meetings of the dengue emergency response committees constituted at the town level. The directions were issued by the government to all TMOs.

A TMO is the secretary of the committee whereas other senior officers are supposed to chair meetings of their respective committees.

“Weather conditions are favourable to dengue breeding and the government has asked the officials to hold meetings of committees on a regular basis,” a CDGL official said. He said the government had also directed the committee members to penalise those showing lethargic attitude towards performing dengue-related duties. – (khalidpak284@yahoo.com)

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2016