BARIPADA: Ten child labourers of Udala in Mayurbhanj district have been allegedly detained and tortured by owner of a private company in Chennai. The matter was brought to the notice of district administration and district labour officials by their parents here on Saturday.
They said the children, aged between 12 and 15, have been detained, tortured and forced to work as bonded labourers in a gunny bag making unit in Chennai. The children are Jaykumar Patra, Deepak Patra, Lipu Patra, Jaykrushna Patra, Sudarshan Nayak, Manas Nayak, Sumanta Nayak, Chakradhar Patra, Baya Nayak and Ugrasen Nayak, all belonging to Dangadahi village and mostly school dropouts. They had left for Chennai in April last year to work in the unit. The parents informed that a local labour contractor Rajesh Behera had taken them to Chennai and assured that their children would return in two to three months. “However, even after nine months, our children have not come back. They do not have mobile phones and efforts to contact Behera have failed,” said Rangalata Patra, mother of Lipu.
The parents came to know of the children’s plight when one of them called up his parents and informed that they are being forced to work for over 12 hours a day. “The children are also being tortured if they disobey the orders and forced to work without pay,” said Sakuntala Nayak, another parent. The parents also urged the district administration to trace out Behera and take stringent action against him.
Mayurbhanj Collector Rajesh Pravakar Patil said the Assistant Labour Officer (ALO) has been asked to inquire into the incident and submit a report by Monday. “Necessary action will be taken after the report is received,” he added.
ALO Shyam Sundar Singh who visited the village on Saturday for inquiry, said the children had left for Chennai on April 14 and since then, they have been detained there. “We have found out that the labour contractor is also in Chennai now. Efforts are on to contact him,” he informed.