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Hostages released on relief promise

Jajpur, June 29: The villagers of Dharapur under the Bari police jurisdiction in the district released four persons, including the ambulance driver, who had brought the body of Narendra Malik, a migrant labourer, who was working in South Africa.

The villagers released the detained persons after obtaining assurance from the district administration for payment of compensation to the family members of the deceased worker.

Narendra, along with 23 other Oriya workers, was hired by a broker to work in a construction firm in South Africa with promise of good remuneration, free food and accommodation. He died of fever allegedly caused due to malnutrition and unhealthy working condition there.

“We have released the detainees following the assurance given by the district labour officer that the company, which had sent him to South Africa, will pay Rs 3.22 lakh to Narendra’s family as compensation. The Hyderabad-based company has agreed to pay the money within four days,” said Dharapur sarpanch Bijay Ranjan Jena.

The company officers have given a written assurance to the Jajpur collector to pay the compensation within four days.

“I have taken up the matter with the company authorities, who have intimated the district administration to provide Rs 3.22 lakh as compensation within four days. The company has given us a written assurance in this regard,” said district labour officer Suresh Chandra Swain.

Of the 23 migrant Oriya workers working in South Africa, 14 belong to Jajpur district. These workers had been in a deplorable condition at their workplace, said the official. “We will write to the government to take up the matter with the external affairs ministry, so that they will be released soon,” said Swain.

“We are taking all efforts for their safe return. We are also planning to contemplate action against the brokers who are indulging in illegal traffic of poor labourers to overseas company,” he said.

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