NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Friday issued notices to Odisha government and district magistrates of different districts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the issue of migrant bonded labourers.
"The Commission took a cognisance of a complaint under the aegis of two NGOs that 239 labourers, released from bondage, having release certificates, have not been rehabilitated by the government of Odisha.
"Allegedly, the rescued bonded labourers had not been even provided primary assistance for their survival which might lead them to go back to the bondage," said a statement by NHRC.
According to NGOs, Janjagarn Dadan Sangha and Solidarity Group on Abolition of Bondage and Migration in Odisha, most of the labourers rescued from different parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh belong to tribal belt of Odisha. They have demanded criminal proceedings, among other actions, in special fast track courts against the perpetrators of violence against bonded labourers and migrants, the statement said.
"The complainant has also said the village economy had been deliberately destroyed by industrialisation and mechanisation of agriculture leading to marginalised rural communities comprising mostly of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to sell off their sources of livelihood.
"As a result, this has increased migration of marginalised communities and landless labourers to work in bondage condition in brick kilns and construction sites in big cities of different states. The complainant has suggested various preventive measures to check exploitation of migrant labourers by ensuring action and procedures as per the law," the Commission said.
Accordingly, the NHRC issued notices to Collectors and district magistrates of Bengaluru (Rural), Bengaluru (South), Bengaluru (North) and Gulbarga in Karnataka; Khammam, Nalgonda, Nellore, Mehaboob Nagar and Kermelu in Andhra Pradesh and District Thiruvallur in Tamil Nadu asking them to submit a report within four weeks in the matter.
Notices have also been issued to the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, Odisha government to submit reports about the action taken to monitor the conditions of inter-state bonded migrant labourers from Odisha to other States and issues of their wages and children's education and future.
The Commission has decided to take up the issue at its camp sitting in Bhubaneswar in the third week of August.