While sand extraction of River Jhelum has generated employment among youth of Awantipora in Pulwama district, it has concurrently given rise to child labour in the region. Many children and teenagers are leaving their studies mid-way to take up the job of sand extraction and support their families.
Earlier the task was carried out by fishermen community, who, since ages, have been extracting sand to earn livelihood. However, nowadays, even school going children are taking keen interest in this labour, which, in turn, has hampered their education.
Ask them what makes them do so at the cost of their studies, they cite poor financial conditions of their families. “Poverty and unemployment compel us to drop out from schools and take up sand extraction,” says a minor pleading anonymity. He adds that he earns Rs 500 to 600 a day, “which is sufficient for me to survive”.
Another boy, Suhail Ahmad Sheikh, who is 15 years old, says, since the economic condition of his family was not stable, “I had no option but to give up my education” viagra women. “We are 10 family members. My father was not able to fulfil even the basic needs of our family, then how could he have fulfilled my educational needs?” he asks.
While talking to Kashmir Risalat , Bashir Ahmad Mir, father of a school dropout, says, devastating floods of 2014 badly affected them, “due to which I as family head could not fulfil the needs of my family”. “That is why, like other poor families, I had to let my son take up sand extraction,” he says.
A sociologist at University of Kashmir laments, despite that child labour is illegal, many people are exploiting their children for earning livelihood, which ultimately gives rise to illiteracy and ignorance among youth and school going children. “Government and private organisations need to take initiatives against this social evil, and make sure that the life and career of these youth is secured,” he adds.