Nagada, the hill top village, which shot into notoriety in 2016 following the shocking death of 20 tribal children due to acute malnutrition-related ailments is once again in the limelight.
The nation wide outrage in 2016 had prompted the BJD government to announce several schemes and direct officials to initiate developmental work.
Ironically on Thursday, the labour department officials found child labour being engaged in developmental work undertaken by government agencies at the village.
The District Task Force on Thursday afternoon rescued five five child labourers from Nagada village. The rescue operation was led by Assistant Labour Officer, Chittaranjan Rout, Kaliapani police station inspector in-charge Yubraj Swain, Child Welfare Committee (CWC)chair person Rita Behera and assisted by District Child Protection Officer Niranjan Kar, Child Security Unit law officer Tapan Kumar Panda and Rural Labour Inspector Gopal Krushna Mangaraj. All the rescued children are between 13-15 years of age, officials said.
Ironically the children were found engaged as labourers in various developmental projects being implemented in these villages by the government, they said. “While a child of Nagada was engaged as a construction labour in an Anganwadi building construction work in the village, another child of the village was engaged in water supply work carried out by RWSS department,” said the Assistant Labour Officer Chittaranjan Rout.
Besides, three children of the village were engaged as labour in local forest fire dousing work being carried out by the forest department, he said.
The labour officials said show-cause notices will be sent to contractors and the forest department for engaging child labourers and action will be taken against them thereafter.
The rescued child labourers were handed over to CWC after conducting their health check up. However, the CWC officials said that the rescued child labour would be rehabilitated after imparting them vocational training. “Vocational training will be provided to the rescued children and they will be rehabilitated as per government schemes,” said CWC chair person Rita Behera.
The state government had formed a task force to ensure all-round development of Nagada after the series of malnutrition death in Nagadas came to fore.
The district administration had claimed to have taken a host of welfare measures right from launcing of MGNREGA, NFSA, motorable road to the hilltop village, pucca houses and supply of drinking water.
Over 400 residents, including 129 children, of 71 primitive Juang tribal families live in Nagada consists of three hamlets- Tala Nagada, Majhi Nagada and Upper Nagada.