BHAKTAPUR: Thousands of child labourers are being used in numerous brick kilns scattered across the Bhaktapur district.
Most of total 62 brick kilns in the district are found to be deploying child labourers, a monitoring carried out by the District Child Welfare Board and various non-governmental organisations revealed.
The ongoing effort to declare the district free of child labour by 2017 stands in stark contrast to the high number of child workers toiling for daily livelihood in brick factories.
The District Child Welfare Board has already declared seven brick kilns child labour-free. Yet, 10,000 children are estimated to be working in other brick kilns, it is learned.
Inod Tamang (14) from Ramechhap has been working at the Saraswoti Mata Brick Kiln since mid-December last year.
Tamang’s works include overturning bricks inside the kiln, arranging them in piles and carrying large buckets of soil. He also makes bricks with his parents at the factory.
Likewise, eight-year-old Puja Khatri, who works at the same brick kiln, says her works include overturning bricks and drying them out in the sun. “I do not know how much I earn, I work and my father receives the money,” Puja says.
Manish Tamang (11) and another eight-year-old Anil Tamang from Ratamate area of Jhangajholi of Sindhuli and working at Mahamanjushree Brick Kiln spend their days flipping over the bricks.
Santalal Tamang, who works in these factories, shares that children are helping their parents. “Most of the children come with their parents, some help with making the bricks and others flip over the bricks and arrange them in piles,” he says.
Investigations found that the children were brought to the factories by some agents, popularly known as “Naikes”. Naikes are attracted to bring more children as it yields them more commission.
Meanwhile, it was also found that the factory owners and such Naikes had also taught the children to lie their age. Consequently, the children brought by Naikes usually say they are above 16 years of age.
Women Development Official Nila Ghimire said action would be taken if children below 16 years of age were made to work in brick kilns.