One of the leading biscuit production company, in India – Parle-G shut down its oldest plant in Raipur, after the state police rescued 26 child workers from the premises, The Economic Times reported.
The children were working in the factory – some of them even operating machines, while the raids took place, another report said.
Most of the rescued boys were in between 14 and 16 years. The children have been sent to the government child home.
Parle-G runs 10 plants across the country and also outsources manufacturing to third-party contractors, the newspaper said.
The company however denied its involvement in the matter claiming that the manufacturing facility was not owned by Parle-G, the publication reported.
The Indian law bars the companies from employing children below 15-years-of-age and deems it to be a cognizable criminal offence. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 defines a person below the age of 15 as child.
The Indian labour laws allow a company to employ workers between 15 and 18 years for non-hazardous works only for limited hours.
This was the first of its kind crackdown in Raipur, the publication reported quoting Raipur’s Superintendent of Police (SP). The police is talking to the children, rescued from the factory to know about the people responsible for recruiting the children, the publications said quoting the SP.
Child labour was an organized activity, and the crackdown will continue across industries, the report further said quoting the SP.
The biscuit-brand has been under the fire on social media.
India has been ranked 47th worst country among the 198 countries across the world according to the Child Labour Index.