32 Bonded Labourers Rescued from Brick-Kiln in Andhra Pradesh
Officials from Revenue, Child Welfare and Labour Welfare departments along with police carried out the operation.
Over 32 bonded labourers including 12 minors were rescued from a brick-kiln manufacturing unit at Kanumpalli cross in Garladinne of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. Based on the Collector's order, a team of officials from Revenue, Child Welfare and Labour Welfare departments along with police carried out a joint operation.
The alleged torture of minors and unhealthy work conditions came to the notice of the District Collector through human rights activists. According to officials, the brick kiln manufacturing unit is owned and operated by Shekar from Anantapur and Srinivas from Nellore.
Sushant Panigrahi, a rights activist and freelance journalist from Odisha, has written a mail to Anantapur District Collector and other officials concerned, of both the state governments of Andhra and Odisha.
All the rescued labourers belong to Khurlumuda village of Turekela block of Bolangir district in Odisha.
Torture and Harassment
Panigrahi received a phone call and videos in which labourers complained about torture and harassment of the company owners. Sushant told TNM, "Women labourers were being forced to work overtime, and children were also beaten up to do work. There was no proper potable drinking water, and Rs 200 was being paid for meals per person per week."
According to him, all of the workers hail from the SC /ST and Other Backward Communities (OBCs).
Speaking to TNM, Collector S Satyanarayana, said, “We have credible information about bonded labour in a brick kiln unit, all of them will be rescued. Necessary action will be taken following the report from revenue officials.”
Speaking to TNM, Madhava Reddy, Garladinne Tehisildar, Mandal Revenue Officer said, "All the 12 minors were given to the custody of Child Welfare Department, and they have been taken to hospital in view of their health."
He further added, "Once the children are back from hospital, we will take their statements as well. We will soon complete the inquiry."
Tehisildar added that they will make arrangements to send labourers to their native places as per their wish.
Kurnool Taluka Circle Inspector Krishna Reddy said, "The owners of the company through middlemen brought the labourers from Odisha, by giving Rs 30,000-40,000 advance per six months. Labourers said they were being given a mere Rs 600 per 1,000 bricks and Rs 300 a week for meals per person."
He added, "Revenue officials haven't yet lodged a complaint. Once they do, we will look into the bonded labour charges and take action."
(This article was originally published by The News Minute and has been republished here with permission.)
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