This article is published in The Hindu, 1-10-2007

K. Venkateswarlu

Over 4 lakh children work in cotton seed farms

HYDERABAD: Notwithstanding the series of `proactiveŽ steps taken so far to discourage the obnoxious practice of child labour, a study commissioned by five international agencies has revealed that over four lakh children continue to slog on hybrid cotton seed farms across Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The multi-centric field survey in the latest cotton cultivation season of 2006-07, showed that 4,16,460 children under the age of 18, majority of them below 14, were employed in cottonseed farms in these four States, accounting for 92 percent of the total cotton production in the country. It is nearly double compared to 2,00,675 children in 2003-04 when figures for three States barring Tamil Nadu were available.

A cause for concern is in most of these States, the `child bondageŽ in such farms is on the rise. Gujarat, having the largest cottonseed production area, employed the maximum of 1,75,260 children, followed by Andhra Pradesh (1,37,600), Tamil Nadu (65,700) and Karnataka (47,500).

Davuluri Venkateswarlu, director of Hyderabad-based Glocal Research, which conducted the study, "Child bondage continues in Indian cotton supply chain" said the response from the State and the Central Governments and both multinational and national seed companies to this "modern form of child slavery", had not been encouraging.

download here the report "Child Bondage Continues in Indian Cotton Supply Chain"

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Landelijke India Werkgroep - September 28, 2007