Bulandshahr: Even as the government make efforts to prohibit child labour, an Uttar Pradesh government-owned urban development agency itself has come under scanner for hiring minors for whitewashing and cleaning work at a housing project.
Several children, aged below 14 years, were on Tuesday seen sprucing up the Kanshi Ram Awas Yojna, a housing scheme for economically weaker sections of the society, in Kalindikunj town.
The renovation of the Kanshi Ram Awas Yojna is being carried out by the Bulandshahr Khurja Development Authority (BKDU) ahead of the surprise visit of Chief Minister Mayawati, who is on a whirlwind tour of Uttar Pradesh to evaluate the implementation of various developmental and welfare schemes initiated by the state government.
The Kanshi Ram Awas Yojna was launched by Mayawati for providing houses to urban poor.
Children claimed that they are paid Rs.100 on a daily basis for carrying out the work at the housing project.
"I have been asked to paint an area of the housing scheme. The contractor has assured me giving Rs100 on a daily basis for my work", 13-year-old Suhail told reporters in Bulandshahr, some 450 km from Lucknow.
Like Suhail, several other children can be seen climbing up the ladders for painting the walls of the housing block.
The children claimed they have been instructed to speed up the work as the chief minister can visit the site any time for inspection.
When contacted, BKDU vice chairman Aanand Vardhan said, "What you are talking about has not come to my knowledge. I will act swiftly and ensure no children are deployed."
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years.