#India – 273 bonded labourers rescued in Tiruvallur


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu , June 12

The Odisha natives, who had been working under inhuman conditions in brick kilns, were sent back home on Tuesday night — Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam
The HinduThe Odisha natives, who had been working under inhuman conditions in brick kilns, were sent back home on Tuesday night — Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

At the end of an investigation that went on through the night until the crack of dawn on Tuesday, district officials established they were victims of bonded labour

Uttam was given only one day off in a week to venture out of the brick kiln. Even on that day somebody would accompany him.

Uttam was one of the 273 labourers from Odisha who were tricked into working as bonded labourers at two brick kilns in Chennai’s neighbouring Tiruvallur district. The labourers, who were allegedly working under inhuman conditions for a weekly payment of Rs. 300 to Rs. 400 per family, were rescued by revenue officials in an overnight raid on Monday.

At the end of an investigation that went on through the night until the crack of dawn on Tuesday, district officials established they were victims of bonded labour.

One hundred and eighty nine workers were handed ‘release certificates’ that identified them as bonded labourers, thereby enabling them for government rehabilitation packages. They were also given Rs. 1,000 each as initial rehabilitation payments and tickets for their journey to Bolanghir in Odisha.

Huddled beside Dhanbad Express at Chennai Central station on Tuesday evening and clinging to their meagre belongings, they recalled the difficult working conditions in the kilns, where even children were made to work.

Manoj from Kantabanji in Odisha, who worked as a driver at the kiln, got just three to four hours of sleep every day. “I was promised a salary of Rs. 7,000 a month, but got Rs. 15,000 for three months and nothing for the last two.”

While the labourers spoke in Odia, Annie Baptist, a volunteer with International Justice Mission (IJM), the NGO that assisted the district officials with the rescue, translated.

Sountharba, (45), said the family had taken a loan of Rs. 50,000 for her son’s wedding which they were unable to repay. When a ‘seth’ (middleman) offered to pay them an advance of Rs. 48,000 for four members in the family, they went to work in the kilns as they wanted to pay back the debt taken from other persons.

“My husband, son, daughter-in-law and I came here in January and were made to work six days a week from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. with few breaks in between,” she said.

Twelve-year-old Dinesh, who spoke little Hindi, said he attended school between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and was then made to work between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Baduku, another labourer, complained that if one of the members in the family was unwell, the wages would be accordingly cut.

After seven months of working close to 17 hours a day for six days a week at a place nearly 1,200 kilometers away from their home districts of Bolanghir, Naupada, Barghar and Nabranghpur districts in Odisha, the labourers on Tuesday night boarded the Dhanbad Express for a day-long journey home.

No criminal charges

Tiruvallur district collector K. Veera Raghava Rao said the labourers were rescued from the two kilns that were operating under the name ‘Eswari Brick Works’ in Thirukandalam village of Otthukottai taluk. Though the descriptions of the working conditions, provided by IJM, which assisted the district officials, sounded grave, the revenue department could only file penalties against the proprietors of the brick kiln under the Bonded Labour Abolition Act (BLA) of 1976, Mr. Rao said.

When it was pointed out that a press release from IJM noted that some labourers were beaten by the employers for demanding fair payment, the Collector said details would be collected of specific instances and if required, cases would be filed under IPC.

Tiruvallur district has close to 300 brick kilns that provide resources for the booming construction industry in Chennai. It is populated with a lot of labour-intensive small industries, including rice mills.

(With inputs from Asha Sridhar)

 

Jan Sahas released 52 Bonded Labourers from brick kiln industry including children and women


jan

 

 

Evidences of prevalence of the illegal practice of bonded labour were observed some days ago in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh, where 52 labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were working as bonded labourers including children and women. They were freed on February 22 and 23, 2013 by the Jan Sahas under the “The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976”. Thereafter, they were given “released certificate” and immediate relief amount and the process of their rehabilitation in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has begun. These workers were being used as bonded labourers by the brick manufacturers of Morena, Madhya Pradesh.

Six workers of Chhattisgarh ran away in January after being exploited by two brick manufacturers of Jalalpur village (Thana Jaura) of Morena called Rinku Tyagi and Mahavir Tyagi. Family members of workers filed a police complaint against this in their village Barbhatha which comes in the district of Jaanjgeer. The Superintendent of Police (SP) of Jaanjgeer informed Morena police about this matter on January 19, 2013 but no action was taken against the culprits. When Jan Sahas was informed about this, it’s activist of Centre Social Justice and Equality and Bonded Labour Liberation Campaign raided the work place along with the police and liberated 22 workers. 22 more workers were freed the next day by raiding one more place nearby, while 8 labourers got freedom the other day.

The liberated workers belong to Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. After talking to them, we came to know that labourers were sold to Rinku Tyagi and Mahavir Tyagi in October 2012 by a contractor called Daataram in three lakh rupees.

These labourers told us that they had to work from 6 o’clock in the morning till 9 o’clock in the evening and each worker was paid Rs. 400 to 500 in 15 days to month. Many a times they had to work empty stomach, while they were beaten and threatened too. Rinku Tyagi kept an eye on the labourers and they were kept under vigilance even at night. Women bonded labourers were in a pitiable condition and they were not left alone even for using toilets. They were not allowed to go to market while their children were also forced to work. These labourers were enduring this inhuman behavior for the past 4-5 months.

We got these workers liberated and gave “released certificate” through the district administration including immediate relief amount. These workers have now moved to their villages in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where we are trying for their rehabilitation with the help of local organizations. Dialogue with the local administration is also being made.

Times of India: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-02-24/bhopal/37269558_1_labourers-brick-kiln-joura

 

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,228 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,822,071 hits

Archives

November 2020
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  
%d bloggers like this: