Labourers including kids work in unsafe auto workshops

CHITRAL: Labourers, including children, are exposed to life threatening risks due to lack of safety measures in auyo workshops in Chitral.

Muhammad Ishaq, who is president of Motor Mechanic Association, said most of mechanics at the auto repair shops are working in an insecure environment. He said the mechanics use petrol, diesel and chemicals throughout the day and repair cars by entering beneath them without using helmets, gloves, shoes or other safety equipment.

He said a mechanic died some years ago while repairing a car battery when it exploded.

The Motor Mechanic Association president said many youth in Chitral are indulging in drug use due to joblessness and lack of opportunities. He said a tournament was organized in the area to involve the local youth in healthy activities and 45 teams participated in the event, but no one came forward to sponsor the event.

Young boys and some children were also seen working in auto repair shops most of whom were reluctant to talk to media. However, some of them said they are in the auto repair shops for the last five years.

When told that children of their age go to school, they said they feel very bad about it but they have no other option. They said their parents are poor and cannot afford to send them to school. They said they had to support their poor families.

Some of the children said they will be more than happy to go to school if the government or any NGO bears their education expenses and gives financial help to their parents so that they could arrange at least two-time meal for the family.

Muhammad Ishaq called upon the government and NGOs to take measures for providing education to children who are working in auto repair shops. He said the children who should aspire to become doctors and engineers at this age are working in auto repair shops to support their poor families.

He said little help from the government can change the lives of these children.–GH Farooqui

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