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July 31, 2020

Call to register working animals

Lahore

July 31, 2020

LAHORE:An organisation that works for the welfare of working animals which include horses, donkeys and mules, has demanded their registration with labour department. Pakistan has 5.8 million working horses, donkeys and mules. This shows a large number of families are dependent on these animals for their livelihood.

Search for Justice and Brooke Pakistan held a media briefing to improve coordinated effort between different departments responsible for the welfare of working animals at kilns. Around 200,000 animals are working on kilns alone, according to the NGO. Donkey/mule carts transport raw bricks to the place where they are baked. When an animal gets injured or falls ill it becomes an uphill task to transport it to doctor.

The animal owner is solely responsible for its care and has to borrow money from the kiln owner for its treatment. The first step is to register all the kilns with the labour department. Tajammal, project coordinator Labour Education Foundation (LEF) informed that he went with the labour department inspectors to three kilns in Nankana and found none of them was registered.

Kiln workers are also neither registered with EOBI (Employees Old Age Benefit Institution), nor with employees’ social security institution. “If a kiln owner pays Rs900-1100 for one social security card, the whole family of a worker can get free treatment at dispensary,” the LEF official said.

Of the many reasons why families working at kilns remain in bondage, is not getting notified wages. “Wage per 1,000 bricks is Rs1,295 which they are not being paid anywhere in Punjab. The workers are always accumulating debt. They do 98 percent work on advance. This perpetuates poverty.