SAMBALPUR : CAN the recent life sentence to eight persons for chopping off both the palms of two migrant workers deter the labour sardars from luring labourers to other states and stop exploitation? Only time will speak whether the historic judgment will act as a deterrent or Labour Sardars find out new ways to hoodwink the law.
In November 2013, two migrant labourers Nilambar Dhangra Majhi (40) of Nuaguda village and Diyalu Nial (23) of Pipalguda village under Jaipatna block in the district were hired along with 10 others to work for a Principal Labour Contractor Parmeswar Dundi. But, 10 among them managed to escape. An irate Dundi returned back to his village in Kotamal in Khariar block of Nuapada district and unleashed his frustration on Nilambar and Diyalu. He demanded ` 2 lakh from the family of the labourers for their release and threatened to chop off their palms.
Although the family approached police, belated action saw Dundi and his henchmen chop off the palms of the two on December 15, the same year. Police arrested eight persons and put them to trial in Additional District Judge court which sentenced them to life
Over the decades, migration remains a debatable topic. While unofficially about three lakh people migrate from rainfed areas in the districts of Kalahandi, Balangir, Nuapada and Bargarh, officially the figure is pegged at a few thousands.
Human trafficking in the name of providing employment continues unabated. Very few labour contractors avail licence to hire labourers while the reset manage to grease the palms of officials concerned and export labour to other states.
With the migration of labourers going unchecked, the State Government has no authetic database on the migrant labourers and is clueless about their numbers.
Under the circumstances, it has become important for the State Government to ease the process of hiring labour and legalise migration to ensure that they are not tortured. A database should be built up failing which the judgment will end in a naught, said human rights activists.