Unauthorised labourers gain entry into naval base and work there for a month

Karwar: In a shocking incident, some labourers from Jharkhand entered the high security INS Kadamba in Karwar without proper documents and proper authorisation by the Navy, and worked there for more than one month. The incident came to light when 17 labourers — 11 girls and six boys — of a total of 32 persons who entered the naval base, escaped from the highly guarded area only to appear in the nearby Post-Chendia village on Sunday evening.

This has exposed the security lapses at the naval base. The local people who found the escaped labourers loitering in the village, questioned them about their whereabouts. The labourers narrated their story to the villagers.

According to them, they hail from Chakradharpur in Jharkhand. Hundreds of villagers of Chakradharpur were allegedly brought to Vijayawada, in Andhra Pradesh, by Savitri who “sold” them to a labour contractor called Nagaraj. Nagaraj in turn is said to have sold them to another labour contractor, Ravi, at Kadapa. Ravi, they said, hails from West Bengal. Many of the girls who were with them disappeared mysteriously in Vijayawada and Kadapa, they alleged. According to them, as many as 32 persons were reportedly brought to Karwar by Ravi.

Ravi allegedly introduced them to a local labour contractor and this contractor promised them jobs inside the naval base.

One month ago, they were taken to the naval base by the local contractor and were given entry inside the restricted area.

According to the labourers, they were made to work overtime, were provided food but were not given a salary. They were also not allowed to go out of the naval base.

When the labourers became desperate, they decided to escape. They reportedly entered Idur village from the high-security zone. They said guards were not present at the check-post when they escaped. They said the remaining 15 labourers were still in the naval base. The labour mafia, which is active in Karwar, should be brought to book, said Madhav Naik, a social activist, who was instrumental in bringing the escape to the notice of the media. He said even terrorists could sneak into the naval base in the guise of labourers to carry out sabotage. Those who were responsible for the security lapse should be punished. Senior officers of INS Kadamba were not available for comment.