Districts fail to solve bonded labour problem despite government reminders

Published: 29th July 2013 10:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2013 10:37 AM   |  A+A-

Bhubaneswar: Districts having sizeable population of bonded labourers have miserably failed in their rehabilitation measures despite repeated instructions from the State Government.

While the Labour and Employment Department does not have any information on the bonded labourers of the State, the official website of the Department is yet to have basic information on the marginalised section of the society.

After rescue of a large number of bonded labourers from the southern States during the last two years, the State Government directed seven districts having large scale migration of labourers to submit rehabilitation plans. However, none of the districts submitted their plans during the previous financial years.

Districts like Balangir, Sonepur, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada registered maximum migration of labour force to other States. Balangir and Nuapada districts topped the list.

Last year, 273 labourers from the State were rescued from Tiruvallur, the neighbouring district of Chennai in Tamil Nadu with the assistance of International Justice Mission, an NGO.

In April 2011, 495 migrant workers from the State were rescued from a brick kiln in Bonthawakkam village of Ponneri taluk near Chennai in a joint rescue operation by Tamil Nadu Revenue officials, International Justice Mission and Aide et Action.

These labourers were kept captive by the brick kiln owner for more than six months.

Majority of the migrants were from Balangir, Nuapada, Rayagada and Nabarangpur.

The distressing fact is that 229 of the rescued bonded labourers were children.

While 170 children were in the age group of 0-14 years, the rest were in 15-18 years.

What is more galling is that the Ministry of Labour and Employment sanctioned the Central assistance on March 13 and released its share of aid for 2012-13 to the State for rehabilitation of bonded labourers on April 4 after closure of the financial year.

As the State Government could not draw the Central assistance, it has requested the Centre to validate the March 13 sanction order so that it can utilise the fund during the current financial year.

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