BERHAMPUR: A 43-year-old migrant worker ended up losing his right palm and left ankle after he picked up a fight with a labour contractor in Uttar Pradesh where he was employed in a factory. The shocking story came to fore when the maimed Sanka Murmu returned to his native village Kalaba in Adava police limits of Gajapati district.
The incident has brought the focus back on the plight of migrant labourers of Odisha who continue to be exploited in other states. Sanka was promised Rs 20,000 a month for working in UP. He reached there on September 13 along with four others of his village by labour contractor Adar Bardhan of Harabhangi. After working for two days as a daily wager at a salary that was not anywhere close to what he was promised, Sanka got drunk and picked up a quarrel with Bardhan.
The fight turned ugly and Sanka was attacked with sharp weapons and soon he became unconscious.
He woke up in a hospital only to realise that his right palm and left ankle were chopped off. Bardhan allegedly brought back Sanka to Kalaba on October 1. The contractor also threatened Sanka and his family of dire consequences if they informed police of the matter.
Wary of further harm to himself and his family comprising his wife, son and a daughter, Sanka has not yet lodged a complaint with the police though he finds arranging two square meals a day a tough ask. Recalling the horror, Sanka said Bardhan had assured to pay him Rs 20,000 per month.
“However, I was engaged as a daily wager and the meagre earning frustrated me following which I took up the matter with Bardhan only to me maimed,” he said. Having lost his limbs without which he cannot work, Sanka is worried about his family.
His wife Susila is shocked and cannot come to terms with the fact that her husband who had left home for better opportunities has returned in a crippled state. “I am sick and not in a position to feed my kids. How will I treat my husband,” she was at a loss for words.
The villagers too echoed similar views. They urged the administration to lend a helping hand to Sanka. Since his arrival in the village a couple of days back, he has been relying on roots and herbs for his treatment. However, he was taken to community health centre at Mohana by an 108 ambulance on Monday. Sources said officials and police personnel from Paralakhemundi have rushed to the hospital to gather more information about his ordeal and deliberate on further course of action.