On June 11, West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR), in collaboration with ActionAid Association’s West Bengal Regional Office, organized a public hearing on children’s issues in the closed and sick tea gardens of the districts of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. Organized in Alipurduar, the public hearing saw active participation of members from the district administration, including Assistant Labour Commissioners, Additional District Magistrates and Deputy Superintendent of Police, several of whom were also on the jury listening to the cases.
The day-long hearing of cases threw sharp light on the various issues faced by children in closed and sick tea gardens, including large numbers of missing children, accounts of assault and abuse faced by young girls, poor access to schools, schools not receiving mid-day meal supplies for months and lack of access to clean drinking water. Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid Association, was also part of the jury. Speaking extensively on the need to address the root cause of these issues, he stated that the closure of tea gardens is leading to the breakdown of the labour ecosystem surrounding the tea estates. He also emphasized on the need to map the numbers of missing children.
Presenting its recommendations, the panel asked the district administration to take cognizance of the various issues raised and to take appropriate actions as required. The jury also urged civil society organizations to work collectively and provide all possible support to the district administration. To read more, click here.
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