Following key intelligence provided by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, seven children who had been engaged as child labourers were rescued by the Karnataka Labour Department leading to the arrest of a railway contractor and his associates. An FIR has been filed against them at the Government Railway Police station at Krantivira Rayanna railway station.
The children, who are from Telangana, had reportedly accompanied their parents to work on the project between Ramanagara and Yeliyur, about 70 km from Bengaluru. They had been engaged by the contractor for putting small stones and setting them on both sides of the railway track from near the Settihalli Railway Station in Karnataka’s Ramnagar district on July 31.
47-year-old Govindraj Nagamuni of Sachin Construction from Nelamangala is the prime accused in the case while his associates – 40-year-old Durgaiah from Ramapnpete village in Telangana and 26-year-old Venkatesh Gujjalu from Gurugundla village in Andhra Pradesh too have been named in the FIR.
The children who have been rescued include three girls and four boys, the youngest being 12 years and six months of age. The nature of their job was hazardous and the children were engaged in placing crushed stones on the railway tracks and levelling them.
The Aadhaar Cards recovered from the children appeared to be fake as essential details were missing. The contractor will be paying a penalty of Rs 1.4 lakh at Rs 20,000 per child. The Labour Department will also pay Rs 15,000 for every child.
The rescue was planned after the week long observation by the BBA team. Finally, after ascertaining their exact location, a joint team including District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) officials, labour inspectors and BBA moved to the location and rescued the children.