Seven workers rescuedfrom well-digging unit

Officers rescued seven workers from Chhatisgarh who were said to be working as bonded labour in a well-digging unit in Yaragatti village in Belagavi on July 17.

Acting on a tip-off from members of a non-governmental organisation, Spandana, officers of the district administration, Labour Department, Women and Child Welfare and the police acted in time and rescued the workers.

Labour Department officers said that a release certificate would be issued to them under the relevant Acts, after a detailed inquiry.

Police officers from the Murugod Police Station have filed a first information report under the provisions of the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act, based on the raid conducted on Friday last.

The group of workers includes two minors and five aged between 18 and 20.

The officers who conducted the raid found that the workers were staying in a shed in difficult conditions. They were travelling in a truck that doubled as their shelter for the night.

All the workers belonged to the Gond community, listed under the Scheduled Tribes. They hail from the districts of Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Kanker of Chhatisgarh.

Members of Spandana told the officers that the workers had been working at borewell digging units in the State for a year now. They were getting wages less than the promised ₹ 9,000 to ₹ 15,000 every month. They said that the workers were given only between ₹ 100 and ₹ 200 apart from some personal expenses. The promises of rooms and other facilities were not met and the employer supplied insufficient ration, they said.

The workers told the officers that the employer did not allow them to return to Chhatisgarh during the lockdown, and instead, forced them to stay in Belagavi. They also told the officers that they were not given any safety equipment such as masks and gloves and that they were made to work all seven days a week, without a day off.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 1:03:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/seven-workers-rescuedfrom-well-digging-unit/article32174249.ece

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