ADITYA DEV IN THE TIMES OF INDIA
GURGAON: With the residents of Gurgaon intensifying their protest against child labour and trafficking, the administration has also decided to extend its support to the cause. To boost the morale of nine residents, who would be cycling a distance of 320km from Gurgaon to Ajmer on Saturday morning, an inauguration programme was held at deputy commissioner Rajender Katarias office at Mini Secretariat on Friday. At the programme, a street play was held to raise awareness on the cause, before the cycle journey was flagged off by Kataria.
The cyclists mission is to raise awareness against child labour and trafficking. Two local NGOs, Shakti Vahini, which runs Childline, and Gurgaon Ki Awaaz are also supporting the cause. The initiative is headed by Chiro Mitra, whistleblower of a child labour case in DLF phase I. Besides this group, another group of 10 cyclists will also cover a distance of 50 km till Manesar to show its solidarity with the cause. All the cyclists are members of the group Pedalyatri.
The cyclists will be supported by 50 volunteers from Shakti Vahini, who will undertake eight street plays on the route to sensitize people on issues like child trafficking and child labour. The volunteers will also conduct a signature campaign against child trafficking and child labour, where the deputy commissioner will sign first in favour of the campaign. Ironically, even as the event was underway at Mini Secretariat, a group of children was seen polishing shoes near the entrance. As photographers started clicking pictures, these children were escorted away from the venue.
Sources said as the area is thronged by hundreds of people everyday, these kids from nearby slums come here to earn money through shoe polishing and begging. An official of Shakti Vahini said, We have intervened in this matter many times, but as they are poor people they do not want to lose their extra income. Acknowledging the situation, Kataria said, The problem is very deep-rooted and despite many orders having been passed, it is still there. The solution to this problem lies in raising awareness among people. We are working on this, and at the same time, the administration will reiterate that no government officials should be, in any way, be a part of child labour.
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