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BONDED LABOURERS RESCUED, NOT REHABILITATED
Friday, 11 December 2015 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
I had gone to a brick kiln of Andhra Pradesh in 2012 to work as a labourer. But I along with many others were rescued and given release certificate after some time. We were assured of release of Rs 19, 000 at home. However, after returning home, I approached the local block officials and was told to contact both BDO and WEO to get the rehabilitation assistance. I submitted papers to them but till today, I have not received the money,” lamented Ragu Deep of Dumerpitha village of Deogaon block.
Dhuba Chinagur of Saan Patrapali of Naren gram panchayat of Titilagarh also had similar version. “I was rescued from a brick kiln of Tamil Nadu in 2011. After returning here, I submitted the documents to the block officials for my rehabilitation assistance. However, they did not listen to us.”
Several bonded labourers of Balangir district staged a dharna before the Collectorate on occasion the Human Rights Day demanding immediate payment of their rehabilitation assistance and their inclusion in different social security schemes. They also demanded a comprehensive plan for their proper rehabilitation.
About 276 bonded labourers of Balangir district are yet to receive their rehabilitation assistance. We demand that the rehabilitation assistance be paid to them immediately and a comprehensive social security and livelihood plan be prepared and implemented for proper rehabilitation, said Dadan and Goti Surakshya Manch president Motilal Tandi.
“A total of 1,208 bonded labourers in Odisha, which includes around 100 children and 500 women, were legally released and freed from bondage from the brick kilns by the Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka State Governments and repatriated them to Odisha between 2011 and 2014. As per the Bonded Labour Systems (Abolition) Act 1976, these legally released bonded labourers have the right to receive rehabilitation assistance of Rs 20,000. The rehabilitation assistance amount is shared by both the State and Central Governments.
While the State Government contributes 50 per cent of the assistance, the rest 50 per cent is borne by the Central Government, pointed out a civil society activist.
The Bonded Labour Systems (Abolitions) Act 1976 also envisages that the State Government should take such steps that the labourers released should not get into further bondage situation. Also, they are entitled to get Government entitlements to reduce the distress condition, he opined.
According to unofficial sources, 269 labourers in Balangir, 124 in Nuapada, 104 in Bargarh, 15 in Sonepur,12 in Sambalpur, eight in Gajapati, seven in Rayagada and five in Nabarangpur are yet to get the rehabilitation assistance.