A special team of revenue officials rescued 19 families comprising of 63 people, all native of Odisha, on Wednesday. They had been detained by a brick kiln owner even after their labour contract had expired, at Akkaraipatti village near Mallayapuram.

The police and revenue officials brought them in two vans to Dindigul railway station and boarded them on a train to Odisha. The 19 families, including 19 men and 19 women had been working in a brick kiln for the past one year. A contractor from Odisha had hired them for a bulk amount and brought them to Athoor for work. The contract had expired in February. But the owner reportedly refused to send them back to their native village, said one of the rescued victim.

One of the labourers, who had managed to escape from the owner’s custody, lodged a complaint with the labour office in Odisha.

Acting on information from Odisha, the revenue team swung into action and rescued all others.

Even though the kiln owner had agreed to pay Rs.20,000 per labourer, he had not given even Rs.5,000, alleged a worker.

The brick kiln owner neither paid the wages properly nor provided the labourers with basic amenities.

One of the women labourers alleged that even proper drinking water was not offered to them.

If they were unwell, basic medical care was not provided, they also alleged.