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Mystery of missing labourers in undivided Ballari district

A 24-year-old youth from Bidar, Shanta Kumar G, working as a labourer at a steel plant in Sandur in Ballari district has gone missing for the last one week.

Published: 26th October 2021 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th October 2021 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BALLARI: A 24-year-old youth from Bidar, Shanta Kumar G, working as a labourer at a steel plant in Sandur in Ballari district has gone missing for the last one week. Adding to their distress, Kumar’s parents are finding it difficult to file a missing person complaint with the police. 

It is not just Kumar, over the last one year, eight complaints of labourers missing have been filed at various police stations in undivided Ballari district. The count is 30 for the last three years. Since the area houses several heavy industries, particularly from the mining and steel sectors, labourers from different parts of the country come here seeking jobs. Data shows that a majority of the missing labourers are from other states, while many of them have also died due to accidents at the workplace.

Gundappa Gunvamshi, Kumar’s father, told The New Indian Express that their elder son, who is the sole breadwinner of the family, came to Ballari to work at the steel plant. On October 15, Kumar’s friends informed the family that he was not to be found. “It is hard to imagine life without him,” he added,  requesting the police to trace him. 

A member of the labourers’ union said that as there are a lot of job opportunities in Ballari and Vijayanagara districts, which are mining and steel hubs, a large number of workers come from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and other states, apart from Karnataka. But most of these industries do not take safety precautions, causing injuries and deaths of labourers, he alleged. “Instead of acting after the accidents, authorities from plants should take precautions to prevent such incidents,” 
he said. 

‘Language barrier affecting labourers’

“When these labourers go missing, relatives struggle to register complaints with the police. They also find it difficult to communicate with the local police because of language issues as most of them are from other states. The labour department should help them,” the member of the labourers’ union requested.

Ballari Superintendent of Police Saidulu Adavath said that in all, over 200 missing complaints are registered in undivided Ballari district every year. “But I will ask inspectors from concerned police stations to check cases of missing labourers. If any police official refuses to register a complaint, people should immediately contact the SP’s office,” he added.


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