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13 bonded labourers rescued

Paid meagre wages, they were barred from attending family functions, festivals

February 15, 2012 02:28 am | Updated 02:28 am IST - KRISHNAGIRI:

Thirteen persons, including four children, who were engaged as bonded labourers in a brick kiln near Veppanahalli in Krishnagiri district were rescued on Tuesday.

Revenue Divisional Officer R. Sathish told the reporters that a team led by him, along with volunteers of the Bangalore-based International Justice Mission (IJM), raided the kiln and rescued the 13 persons belonging to three families.

The raid was on the basis of information provided by labourers rescued earlier from other places of work in the area.

The RDO said that Nagaraj, the owner of kilns at Balanapalli near Theertham in Veppanahalli block, had given a total of around Rs.2 lakh to the three families and engaged them for manufacturing raw bricks and related work.

They were paid weekly wages of Rs.200 to Rs.300.

The family members were not permitted to attend family functions or participate in festivals in their native Puliampatti village in Palacode Taluk.

They were made to toil from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., flouting the Tamil Nadu Minimum Wages Act and the Bonded Labourers System (Abolition) Act, the official said.

According to the Minimum Wages Act Act, one has to be paid a minimum of Rs.114 a day for eight hours' work.

Those rescued were E. Marappan (27), his wife M. Sarasu (26), sister-in-law M. Anandalakshmi (14), his children M. Dhanalakshmi (7), M. Suriya (6) and M. Prabhu (4), M. Sokkan (45), his wife S. Bairamma (35), S. Madhesh (35), S. Mahalakshmi (15), S. Siva (9) M. Govindaraj (46), P. Veerabadran (22) and his wife V. Madhavi (19).

The nine adults will be paid Rs.1000 as immediate compensation.

The district administration will request the government for Rs.20,000 more as compensation, Mr. Sathish said.

A case would be registered against the brick kiln owner under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act.

Esther Daniel, director, Case Work in International Justice Mission (IJM) told The Hindu that the organisation would take steps to protect the rights of the rescued labourers.

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