Andhra Pradesh

32 bonded labourers, including 6 children, wait to be rescued

Fettered childhood: Bonded child labourers working at a brick factory at Kanumapalle of Anantapur district.

Fettered childhood: Bonded child labourers working at a brick factory at Kanumapalle of Anantapur district.  

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They were found working in a brick kiln

Thirty-two bonded labourers from Odisha working at a brick kiln at Kanumpalli Cross in Garladinne mandal of the district sent out an SOS to their relatives and friends back home to rescue them from the drudgery they were undergoing for the past several months.

When the issue was brought to the notice of District Collector S. Satyanarayana by Human Rights Activist Sushant Panigrahi, the district administration immediately sent Galadinne Tahsildar R. Madhav Reddy in the night along with Garladinne sub-inspector of police and surveyed the working conditions. Mr. Madhav Reddy told The Hindu that all the 32 members had expressed willingness to be rescued and return to their village in Odisha.

The brick kiln owner got these labourers from Odisha from a manpower supplier for a period of six months to work at the factory abutting the Bengaluru-Hyderabad National Highway. They are reportedly paid ₹600 for making 1,000 bricks.

The Tahsildar said that the living conditions were very bad and on Tuesday they would make further inspection and book the owner of the factory under Bonded Labour Act, if the seriousness of the matter necessitated it. The District Labour Commissioner said the issue was not under their purview, so he had not inspected the factory.

Tribal Welfare activist Rebbapragada Ravi told The Hindu that all the labourers were Dalits, STs and OBCs and they had to be compensated under the Bonded Labour Act and proper rehabilitation process implemented.

Sandeep Tandi, 21, working there, rang up Mr. Sushant unable to bear the rigour.

Six children were also found working at the factory as they had come along with their parents. The women and children were staying in a deplorable conditions without any basic amenities, Mr. Sushant alleged.

Child Welfare Committee Chairperson Nallani Rajeshwari, when contacted, said the issue had not come to her notice and that she would definitely book the owner of the factory if all this was true and try to rehabilitate the children.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:39:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/32-bonded-labourers-including-6-children-wait-to-be-rescued/article30010083.ece

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