Migrant workers rescued in Nilgiri

Balasore: The district administration has rescued 27 migrant labourers and their children belonging to Chhattisgarh from a brick kiln of Ayodhya village in Nilgiri police limits of the district following raids on Tuesday evening.

"The rescued include 10 female labourers and 17 males. These 27 labourers belong to nine families, and their children were also with them. However, no minor was engaged in the kiln work," said district labour officer K. Behera. The raids were conducted under the supervision of Nilgiri sub-collector Aboli S. Narvane following complaints of torture from a human rights activists.

"They were rescued and sent back to their parent district. The labourers were ferried to this place by an intermediary, Resham Bai, who also belonged to Chhattisgarh. Bai is reportedly absconding," said Narvane.

"There were allegations that the labourers had been put on job for more than eight hours and also subjected to further torture," she said.

The labourers from Bilaspur and its neighbouring areas had come to Nilgiri in the first week of October last year. One of the two persons, who had escaped, is identified as Ganga Prasad Khosla, 60. He had brought their plight to the rights activists' notice.

The brick kiln owner, identified as Manoj Sahu, used to pay Rs 5,000 to each family per month. "The minimum wage for unskilled worker in Odisha is fixed at Rs 213.50. The owner had paid some amount as advance to the families through Bai," said Behera.

"Neither written nor verbal compliant about sexual harassment was received from any of the victims," he said.

Narvane further said there were 22 brick kilns operational in the Nilgiri area.


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