Claiming that prostitution had become a "Rs 21 lakh crore business" as per rough estimates, Congress member Ranjeet Ranjan said large-scale human trafficking, especially of children, was prevalent in large parts of eastern India, with many of the victims being pushed into prostitution.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, she said the menace was "growing like cancer", particularly in areas in Bihar and West Bengal, bordering Nepal.

"Children go missing particularly during floods, they are abducted and pushed into prostitution racket," Ranjan said and alleged a nexus between politicians and policemen behind this.

"Government should take stern action to check this menace," she said, adding this was happening at a time when an Indian, Kailash Satyarthi, had won the Nobel prize for protecting child rights.

The plight of tea garden workers in North Bengal and flouting of quota norms by AIIMS were also among several issues raised during Zero Hour.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Cong) said over 11 lakh plantation workers in Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling area of north Bengal were being subjected to death and penury due to closure of 273 tea gardens. Over 1,000 workers have already died this year of starvation.

A recent survey by West Bengal labour department had found large-scale malpractices by tea garden managements, he said and demanded amendments to the laws to enable state government to take over these gardens and take stringent action against the managements flouting rules. Chowdhury was supported by S S Ahluwalia (BJP), who represents Darjeeling.

Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) and Udit Raj (BJP) asked the government to strictly implement the SC, ST and OBC quota norms in medical institutions like AIIMS.

He alleged that such institutions were flouting the norms despite Supreme Court directions.

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