Friday, 14 October 2016

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RIGHTS OF TEA GARDEN CHILDREN IN BENGAL?

"Child Rights" is a much touted parlance these days, which activists of every hue and colour claim to defend across India, but perhaps it is only applicable to the children living in cities. The children in tea gardens of Darjeeling and Dooars continue to suffer and their rights to remain children are being brutally snatched away by greedy tea garden owners, and indifferent government.

Take the case of four children Puja Munda, Reshma Naik and John Naik all students of class 2 and Arun Naik a student of class 1 who are compelled to help their mother break stones by the river bed, or face starvation.

These four and many children like them from the tea gardens belonging to Duncans group in Dooars are forced to break stones on river-bed just so their family will have enough to eat. These hardworking children come to the river bed early in the morning, and help collect stones for their mothers to break till 10 AM, after which they head to school, while their mothers break the stone into chips to be used for building constructions. Immediately after school they rush back to river bed and help with the work again.

At the end of the day, their family makes anywhere from Rs 50 to Rs 75, thus helping them survive somehow.

While the tea garden owners have refused to pay the workers, even the Bengal government has turned a blind eye to their plight, and this indifference continues across the tea gardens of Darjeeling and Dooars. While workers and their families continue to suffer, no help is coming from anywhere

Will these children and their rights ever get any support from our nation? we are yet to see any concern from anywhere.

DAWN