Child labourers find less risky jobs

Kathmandu, October 28:

Thanks to growing awareness about child labour in the transportation sector, children who used to work as conductors of public vehicles, mostly tempos, are now working as helpers.

These children can be seen at tempo stands in Jamal, RNAC and Chabahil, shouting out destinations of the tempos and asking prospective passengers to board the vehicles.

For each occupied vehicle, they collect Rs five from the driver.

Their job has not only helped drivers; it has also reduced the instances of direct involvement of children in the transportation sector. A 10-year-old Tsering Lama finds the job of helping drivers at a bus stand easier than being a conductor. “It is less hectic than my previous job.”

Six hours of work earns him more than Rs 98. A conductor has to work for about 12 hours to earn Rs 98. Lama added that he finds his job hectic during office hours and on weekdays.

Kanchi Maya Tamang, a Safa tempo driver, said: “The traffic police used to harass us for employing children as helpers.”

“They help us a lot,” Tamang said. Tamang adding that their (children’s) job as helpers is safer as it also reduces the risk of accidents and possibility of health hazards. “The children are less exposed to pollution and dust particles.”The Clean Locomotive Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal claims it removed child labourers employed in Safa tempos.

It may be noted that a task force comprising Valley Traffic Police, Traffic Police Directorate, Ministry of Labour and Transportation Management, Federation of Transportation Management- Nepal, General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT), DECONT, Child Workers in Nepal Concern Centre (CWIN), Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Central Police Women Cell, Nation Federation of Transportation Management-Nepal was formed in August to combat child labour in the transportation sector.