They were paid Rs. 300 a week for working from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Five persons, including four adults, who were allegedly forced into bonded labourers at a brick kiln at Sarjapur in Anekal Taluk in Bangalore rural limits, were rescued on Friday. A one-year-old toddler was also among the rescued.
The labourers — two men and two women — hailed from Bhoopepalya in Orissa and had been working in Banidhi Brick Works factory for four years now. They have been identified as Raskil Bhoik (25), Tulasa Barik (35) and her son Madabarik (17) along with Basanti Chanda (45).
The rescue was carried out by a team comprising officials from Labour and Revenue Departments, State Human Rights Commission and the local tahsildar along with the NGO Action for Social Justice.
Speaking to The Hindu, Basanti Chanda said that they were promised Rs. 500 for making 1,000 bricks, but instead were given Rs. 300 a week. “We used to work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. usually while the boy (Madabarik) would work at night as well,” she said. When asked whether they were made to work extra hours or paid less, Basanti said that the pay they were getting for the work was very less and her husband, Beerendra Chand, had left the factory a month ago because of this reason.
The NGO workers said that it was in fact Beerendra who had fled to Orissa and had complained to the District Labour Officer regarding their work. “The officer then contacted our network in Orissa, who alerted us a few days ago,” said Prasanna, a member of the NGO.
Following the tip-off, the rescue team went to the brick factory located in Neriga village in Sarjapur and rescued the labourers. Another labourer, Tulasa, said that they were working as agricultural labourers in Orissa before they came to the city.
“The sardar (the middleman whose name they do not know) there in Orissa lured us to the city saying we would be well paid but it was not the case when we started working here,” she said. The rescue team members said that the rescued labourers knew families in Orissa whose relatives had come down to the city for work. They were introduced to the sardar through these families.
Seventeen-year-old-Madabarik said that he would willingly return to Orissa as he did not want to continue staying at the factory where he was made to work from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. The rescue team members said that the factory was owned by one Madhu against whom a complaint would soon be filed.