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Suryakant Jena

The little shoulder that should carry a school bag to build a bright future for itself, the country and state is now carrying bag containing full of liquor bottles. A scene like this seems like a tight slap to the very fundamental rights of people and also questions the dozens of initiatives of the government which claims of spending crores of rupees to provide free education for all.

While no work is small or big, but the sheer circumstances of work and that too the aspect of child labour makes such a spectacle even more egregious.

Caught in the video footage captured by a news reporter, a little boy could be seen taking a bag full of alcohol bottles from a newly opened government liquor off-shop in Koira area of Sundargarh district. When the reporter followed the boy to the off-shop he found an excise staff identified sitting inside the outlet.

Enquired about the incident after its video went viral on social media, the excise staff identified as Former Excise Inspector of Bonai, Jugal Kishore Naik, refused to make any comment and clarified that he had already been transferred from the area two months before.

“I have been posted to another place. On the incident of child supplying liquor orders, I would suggest you ask the owner of the shop because I cannot say anything on the matter," Naik said.

When approached, the local Block Development Officer said that the kid was earlier studying in class and should be continuing academics in class 6. But if he is not able to keep up his studies, then the administration will look into the matter and find a solution so that he would continue his schooling.

This apart, the BDO also assured that thorough investigation will be carried out into the incident and appropriate action will be taken against those found guilty.

The Tehsilar and Deputy Excise Superintendent have been directed to conduct a probe into the incident and submit a report. I will take the next course of action after getting the report.

Sahadev Barik who works as a local social activist expressed sadness over the incident. "At a time when the kid should be living his childhood, the happiest part of the life and carving out a path for a bright future, it feels sickening to see the boy fetch liquor bottles to consumers," he said. 

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