BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Police launched a special drive and arrested 41 middlemen from Balangir and
Nuapada districts on Saturday for allegedly trafficking labourers from the state to different parts of the country.
Acting on a tip-off, special police teams raided several haats and common places where labourers were gathered in the two western Odisha districts and nabbed the middlemen who were busy finalising deals for the season.
Northern Range DIG Himansu Kumar Lal said the middlemen were trafficking the labourers to various States including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
“The drive will definitely help prevent labourer trafficking by the unscrupulous labour agents in the region. The raids and crackdown on such activities will continue. We also warn people not to fall in the trap of the agents who often cheat and torture them by promising high price,” he added.
While Balangir Police arrested 25 middlemen and registered nine cases in this connection, Nuapada Police nabbed 16 middlemen and registered six cases.
The middlemen were reportedly providing Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 to labourers in advance. Once they receive the advance, they are forced to work at far off places to which they are trafficked. Later, they are either tortured or not properly paid for their labour.
Police sources said the migrant labourers are not allowed to visit their native places to attend any family function or to meet their ailing relatives.
The drive came following a direction from Director General of Police Bijay Kumar Sharma as part of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's 5T initiative that aimed at achieving progress through Transparency, Teamwork, Technology and Time leading to Transformation.
The police had earlier launched a special drive to arrest middlemen luring people in Government hospitals and Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) across the state.