Children in Brick Kilns of District Bhilwara, Rajasthan A report from our field partners in India, Prayas Labour Centre, which shows how important the union organising programme it.   Brick making is a seasonal industry that begins after monsoons …

Walton Pantland

Children in Brick Kilns of District Bhilwara, Rajasthan

A report from our field partners in India, Prayas Labour Centre, which shows how important the union organising programme it.

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Brick making is a seasonal industry that begins after monsoons are over in the month of October and continues till June next year. The workers are mostly seasonal migrants who migrate with their family, including their children. The families have large numbers of children as the workers are mostly young couples who are in the peak of child bearing age. Children of brick kiln workers face multiple deprivations and denial of their rights. These include:

  • Denial of Schooling: They are forced to give up their studies as their parents migrate after the end of the rainy season in months of September – October and then stay out for six to eight months.
  • Denial of ICDS social welfare services: There is no provision of ICDS services at the brick kilns. The local ICDS departments do not survey these children. They may even be unaware of their presence.
  • Child labour: Children start helping their parents in work at a very early age. Children do work that they can easily perform like preparing soil, making bricks, turning bricks for sun drying. They also help in looking after siblings. One of the main reasons for children being engaged in work is the low wage rate. The piece rates are so low that the whole family is forced to work to ensure that they make enough bricks. Further the weekly food expenses are given on the basis of the bricks made during the week. This forces the parents to deploy their children.
  • Right to life: Poor living conditions, lack of sanitation, lack of preventive medical coverage leads to higher mortality amongst infants and children.

The Situation in Mandal cluster of Bhilwara district Rajasthan

Prayas works in many brick kiln clusters across the country. One such major cluster lies in the Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. There are 87 chimney brick kilns in Mandal – Asind tehsils of Bhilwara district. Most of the workers are inter-state migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Number of children at brick kilns: On an average there were 68 children at each of these kilns – 37 in age group 0-5 years and 31 in 6-14 years. If this is extrapolated for all the brick kilns, the number of children at these kilns will be around 4300.

Table: Number of children at six brick kilns in Mandal

Sl. Name of brick kilns 0 to 5 years 6 to14 years
B G T B G T
1 Sangam Brick Kiln 21 18 39 28 32 60
2 Bajrang Brick Kiln 17 12 29 14 11 25
3 Pawan Brick kiln 26 24 50 19 15 34
4 Murali Brick kilns 18 19 37 14 08 22
5 Jay Shri Brick Kilns 24 25 49 22 12 34
6 Hind Brick Kiln 11 05 16 06 10 16
Total 117 103 220 103 88 191

 

Linkage of children with schooling and ICDS: Prayas has made attempts to link children with schooling and ICDS. Situation was shared with the state and district authorities. In the year 2010-11, SSA opened schools under the Special Training Programme at brick kilns. However no schools were opened in the year 2011-12. In the current year, Prayas wrote letters to the authorities in the month of October sharing the information about presence of children. However there has been no movement so far. The SSA has said that the children are not captured in the Child Tracking Survey that was conducted in the month of July. So they have not done anything. The SSA has advised Prayas that children should be admitted in nearby schools. However it has not taken any proactive step. Similarly the ICDS department has also not yet begun any services in the brick kilns.

Children working: Children can be seen working with their parents at all the brick kilns. Two photographs of the current season show children at work

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Children at work Nakoda bricks, Dhuawala, Mandal

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Children at Gyatri bricks, Bhagwanpura chowaraha, Mandal

– From our field partners

Prayas Centre for Labour Research and Action

285 Shankar Colony, Fatehpura, Udaipur, Rajasthan – 313 004

December 2012


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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