BARGARH: In a fresh instance of torture of migrant labourers, a group of 24 workers from Jogendranathpur within Paikmal police limits have allegedly been confined at a brick kiln in Telangana without proper food and wages. The incident came to fore after a Bargarh-based social activist, Dibas Kumar Sahu, tweeted a video of the labourers narrating their misery at the brick kiln. In the video clip, the workers stated that the labourers, including 11 minors, had come to work at the kiln in December last year. After working for a month, the kiln owner started to harass them.
The labourers alleged that the owner is neither giving them proper food nor their wages. Besides, he has also restricted them from contacting their family members over phone. Some of them also claimed that they are being physically assaulted and forced to work for more than 12 hours.“We have many children with us. The health condition of our kids is deteriorating as they are not giving us food. I request Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to rescue us from here,” said one of the labourer in the video.
Sources said, the brick kiln is located in a jungle within Ramagiri police limits in Peddapalli district of Telangana. The labourers were sent to work there through a middleman who is yet to be identified.Sahu said the labourers first contacted him over phone on February 16 and narrated their plight. “I asked them to send their location via Whatsapp following which I contacted the nearest police station in the area. I also contacted the Labour Commissioner of Odisha but did not get a favourable response,” he said.
He took to twitter drawing attention of the Chief Minister’s Office and Labour department to the plight of the workers. The Labour Commissioner replied that action is being taken on the front. Family members of the migrant workers also lodged a complaint with police following which the District Labour department launched an investigation into the matter. District Labour Officer, Bargarh Hemanta Kumar Pradhan said, “We have confirmed the location of the labourers. We are in touch with the Labour Commissioner of Telangana and one of our nodal officer is already there. The workers will be rescued in next 3-4 days.”