Children working in MGNREGS, probe ordered

Berhampur: A probe has been ordered into the allegation that child labourers were being engaged in executing works of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Ganjam district.

"District Level Monitoring Committee will inquire into the allegation of child labour engaged in the MGNREGS work," District Collector Krishan Kumar said here today.

Stringent action would be taken against the persons found guilty in the incident, he said.

Child rights activists had on Sunday claimed to have detected at least four children working in the MGNREGS work at Kaudia village in Sanakhemundi block.

The children aged 12 to 13 years were working in renovation of a pond, when the activists found them, director of the Child Line, Berhampur, Sudhir Sabat alleged.

The children were studying in a nearby school in Class VII and VIII. They were rescued and handed over to their parents, he said adding the children were working in the site in place of their parents who actually hold job cards.

BDO of Sanakhemudi P K Das said they were not working at the time of the search. "They were coming to work when block officials reached there after receiving the complaints."

"Their parents were the job card-holders. The Gram Sathi, who inspects the work and takes attendance of the labourers working in the site was absent," the BDO said.

Sabat alleged that several children were engaged in different places of Ganjam district in hazardous works during summer vacation of schools. He demanded that the administration keep strict vigil on these activities.