34 persons, all from Andhra Pradesh, were working in a brick kiln

In a swift action by the Madurai district administration, 34 persons belonging to eight families, including women and children, were rescued safely from a private brick kiln near Peraiyur in Madurai district on Thursday.

The bonded labourers, all Dalits, hailed from a hamlet of Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh.

The Collector, U. Sagayam, said that after he received a call from his counterpart in Prakasam in the afternoon a team of officials, comprising the Revenue Divisional Officer, Usilampatti, Santhi, and Peraiyur Tahsildar Kalyanasundaram, inspected the spot and rescued the bonded workers.

The labourers, who were brought to the Collector's camp office, narrated their tales of woe.

An aged woman said that they had come here five months back to work in the brick kiln. They said that they were paid an advance and even after the sum was settled, the owner refused to part with their wages. They had informed the police about their plight recently, she added.

The Collector told reporters that the bonded labourers would be transported to their native village soon and assured to initiate criminal action against the brick kiln owner.