Kendrapara: As the demand of
crackers swells on occasions like Diwali, children are forced
to work in fire cracker factories in Kendrapara district of
Villages like Putinga, Keruan Garapur and Sujanagar
villages are the hub of locally-made palm-leaf fire crackers.
The children are forced into the hazardous work of
making crackers by their parents themselves, says Binayak
Swain, a child rights activist.
"Those who engage their children in cracker making are
unaware of the legal embargo on engaging children in making of
crackers. Employing children in fire cracker industry is a
penal offence under Child Labour Restraint Act," he said.
Ghanashyam Jena, a cracker manufacturer at Keruan
village, however, sees `nothing wrong` in employing children
in the hazardous job.
"After all, it is (cracker making) is our source of
earning. Why should we be penalised (for employing children)?
They are our children. We have every right to engage them in
Jena is a landless and makes a living from making
crackers for three to months a year. "For the rest of the year
many of us work as farm labourers and earn more making
Cracker manufacturer Subal Jena says the age-old
profession has now been reduced to a part-time job. "It`s only
during the peak marriage season and Diwali that we have to
work real hard and our children have to help us," he said.