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BTR to be child labour free by 2025, Rs 5 lakh earmarked for each MCLA: CEM Pramod Boro

First Published: 25th November, 2023 15:48 IST

A three-year mission would be launched on January 1, 2024 to make Bodoland Territorial Region a child friendly region

In a major decision, Pramod Boro, the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) on Saturday announced that the entire Bodoland region comprising of five districts of Assam – Kokrajhar, Tamulpur, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri would be made child labour free by 2025.

Speaking at a workshop titled ‘Protection of Rights of the Child: The Role of Lawmakers in BTR’ organised by UNICEF Assam and Centre for Development and Peace Studies (CDPS), Guwahati in Tamulpur, Boro also said that a three-year mission would be launched on January 1, 2024 to make BTR a child friendly region and Rs 5 lakh in each of the council legislative assembly would be invested to implement the mission and make it successful.

BTR Chief Pramod Boro in his address said, “Whatever discussion we had was done very seriously, I think that as a government it is very important to do so. It is necessary that the members of the govt discuss this issue seriously.

When I was a member of the student union (ABSU) I had just the idea that these kind of programmes must happen. When we go through the index and datas of entire world, as to what was happening where, if we go through all those details most of the time we felt a bit nervous and upset. Because we were at the bottom of the index.

The situation in Kokrajhar was very disappointing, similar was the situation in other districts of BTR too. It is was a sort of embarrasment for us.

But after NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) was constituted, the sensitivity towards these kind of topics (child rights and issues related to children) seemed to increase.

I got the opportunity to work with then NCPCR chief Professor Santa Sinha and even I attended the social audit in South India. During that time I got many experiences. Sadly, at that point of time nothing could be done in Assam.

But gradually, people have become aware about these issues, they started talking among themselves, if such things had not happened than the organisations working to address such issues would have felt helpless.

During my days in the students union, I worked towards eradicating the menace of trafficking from 2004 till 2009 actively, and we rescued more than 2000 women. But after, rescuing, we did not have much facilities to rehabilate and heal them during that time.

When we came to power we decided that we will work on these key issues (Child Labour, Human Trafficking among others). We worked in dropout, mid day meal program and there is many more but still in BTR the drop out percentage is very high.

This is a matter of grave concern. The percentage may be high in minority areas, but in terms of our (Bodo) society things seem to be quite stable. There are schools everywhere, although some of them are venture schools but most of them are provincialized. Despite that the high dropout percentage is a serious matter. So I appeal to every stakeholder including our officials to take this issue very seriously and find ways on how to resolve this in the next 5 years.

We must also try to reform ourselves, I think there is need for more awareness to understand the psycholgy of the children, their mental capacity besides other aspects. For that participation of everyone is necessary. WE have to this issue very seriously and make BTR Child Labour free by 2025. This is not only announcement, but it is our decision and we have to implement it in letter and spirit.

The government and the society has to work hand in hand to address the issue. A strategy and policy has to be prepared which is workable. For that within December we will have two round of meetings to finalize the policy and the mecahnism as to how will work in the next 3 years. On January 1 we will make a detailed announcement.

We have formed a committee of senior citizens, who are intellectuals, former senior rank officers to bridge the generation gap and spread awareness about all the prevailing social issues. We will fully support the Committee financially. They will share thoughts and ideas through story telling and other activities, speeches on morality development besides others.”

Northeast Live Editor-in-Chief Wasbir Hussain, sharing his thoughts said, “It is a very big announcement that he has made actually, a Child Friendly Bodoland, a 3-year Mission Mode initiative and he said that with the collaboration of UNICEF and CDPS as well as BTC authorities, I think his appeal to colleagues and his assurance will go a long way in resolving most of the issues concerning children and will help in the protection of child rights in BTR. I am sure this will be an example to be replicated, not just by the entire state but perhaps by other parts of the country. I think these are very important announcements that he has made. The fact that Pramod Boro and his colleagues here have laid so much of importance to this issue, have admitted that there are issues which are involved. Because lot of people do not even admit. They want to brush the issue under the carpet. Here he has openly said that there is an issue of dropout which needs to be addressed, there is an issue of child marriage that needs to be tackled. That itself goes to reflect that that administration in BTR is aware of these issues and they are trying to make sincere efforts in taking steps to curb some of these ills that plague the society.”

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