Vehicle carrying children to cardamom plantations seized

There were reports of child labour being widely used in plantations

A vehicle carrying children to cardamom plantations was seized at Kumily on Wednesday amidst reports that child labour was widely used in the plantations during the lockdown period.

The checking was led by the district child protection unit with the support of the police, Labour Department, and the Motor Vehicles Department.

District child protection officer Geetha M.G. said there were three girls below the age of 17 with their parents in the vehicle used for carrying workers to the plantations.

There were allegations that with the closure of schools following the lockdown in Tamil Nadu, children were deployed for work in the plantations.

Ms. Geetha said the girls were shifted to a child care centre under the child protection council at Kumily. She said the parents told the council that they took the children with them as it was unsafe to leave them at home. An inquiry would be conducted and the facilities at their houses would be inspected.

While two girls were aged 16 the other one was 15. The vehicle was carrying workers to a plantation at Seventh Mile.

After media reports of children being engaged for work in the cardamom plantations, where hundreds of workers arrive daily from Tamil Nadu, an inspection was held at the Kumily and Cumbom Mettu checkposts on Wednesday.

The Motor Vehicles Department also registered cases against 52 vehicles carrying workers from across the border without proper documents.

The Nedumkandam police registered cases against two persons for engaging children in hazardous works. Cases were registered against Anakallu resident Shaju and Pachakanam estate manager Kochumon. The police said the children aged 16 years were engaged in hazardous works such as spraying pesticides on cardamom plants. They were residents of Jharkhand.

The inspections by the district administration to check if children are employed in cardamom plantations will continue in the coming days.

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