Andhra Pradesh

Bonded labourers run out of cash on way to Odisha

Bonded labourers, who were stranded at Visakhapatnam on Thursday, having food.

Bonded labourers, who were stranded at Visakhapatnam on Thursday, having food.  

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Brick kiln owner did not pay us our wages, allege workers

A day after 41 bonded labourers were rescued from a brick kiln at Anantapur after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the State Government, the workers were found stranded at Visakhapatnam Railway Station after they ran out of money while on their way home to Bolangir in Odisha.

Tha labourers, including 12 children and some women, alleged that the brick kiln owner Sagar gave them ₹350 as travel expenses, while the government did not pay them anything.

“The brick kiln owner was supposed to pay ₹5,000 to ₹20,000 per person. But he did not pay us anything at the time of our release. Instead, he paid us ₹200 to ₹350 per person. The government officials offered us some food, issued a release notice and sent security guards who helped us board the train last night,” said Naveen Sura, a bonded labourer.

Another bonded labour Govardhan said that half of the total money was spent on train tickets. “We had to reach Visakhapatnam and from here, we need money to catch another train to reach Bolangir. We used some money to buy food and other essentials, and have no money left after buying tickets from Anantapur to Vizag that cost us about ₹280 per head. We travelled in general coaches. Most of us have skipped breakfast. We do not have any money left to buy tickets to our hometown,” Govardhan said.

Timely help

After coming to know about the stranded bonded labourers, Pragada Vasu of AUTD, Visakhapatnam, took them to the nearest GVMC shelter home at Bhupesh Nagar and provided them lunch.

Anantapur Collector S. Satyanarayana also contacted Mr. Vasu and transferred an amount of ₹20,000 as financial help for the tickets and food expenses of the labourers.

“With the amount sent by the Anantapur Collector, we helped the labourers buy train tickets and after that they boarded the train on Thursday evening,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 8:16:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/bonded-labourers-run-out-of-cash-on-way-to-odisha/article30042911.ece

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