Staff Reporter

TIRUPATI: The district machinery on Monday initiated action based on a complaint from International Justice Mission (IJM) that Tamil and Oriya speaking families were languishing in bonded labour at a brick kiln in Srinivasa Mangapuram, 12 km from here.

Three families from Puttur in the district and two dozen families from Orissa were brought by some middlemen to SB Brick Works owned by Mr. Chowdary, who hired them by paying an advance to utilise their services till the final settlement of the same.

“A family is paid a paltry Rs.250 per week for burning 5,000 bricks, which is insufficient to meet their minimum needs,” says Selvan Sudhakar, a spokesperson of IJM.

Revenue sources too concurred that the advance would have been repaid long back, had the kiln owner followed the rules on minimum wages. Manohar, Chandragiri tahsildar, who conducted the preliminary enquiry, told The Hindu that the families did complain of inadequate wage payment, but had not made any charge of captivity.

The activists of IJM expressed hope that the workers would be freed soon.