New Delhi : The National Human Rights Commission, taking cognizance of a complaint under the aegis of two NGOs that 239 labourers, released from bondage, having Release Certificates, have not been rehabilitated by the Government of Odisha. Allegedly, the rescued bonded labourers had not been even provided primary assistance for their survival which might lead them to go back to the bondage.
According to the NGOs, Janjagarn Dadan Sangha and Solidarity Group on Abolition of Bondage and Migration in Odisha, the most of the labourers rescued from different parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh belong to tribal belt of Odisha. They have demanded criminal proceedings, among other actions, in Special Fast Track Courts against the perpetrators of violence against bonded labourers and migrants.
The complainant has also said that the village economy had been deliberately destroyed by industrialization and mechanization of agriculture leading to marginalized rural communities comprising mostly of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to sell off their sources of livelihood. As a result, this has increased migration of the marginalized communities and landless labourers to work in bondage condition in brick kilns and construction sites in big cities of different States. The complainant has suggested various preventive measures to check exploitation of migrant labourers by ensuring action and procedures as per the law.
Accordingly, the Commission has issued notices to Collectors/District Magistrates of Districts Bengaluru (Rural), Bengaluru (South), Bengaluru (North) and Gulbarga in Karnataka; Khammam, Nalgonda, Nellore, Mehaboob Nagar and Kermelu in Andhra Pradesh; and District Thiruvallur in Tamil Nadu calling upon them to submit a report within four weeks.
Notices have also been issued to the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment, Government of Odisha to submit reports within four weeks about the action taken to monitor the conditions of inter-State bonded migrant labourers from Odisha to other States and issues of their wages and children’s education and future. The Commission has decided to take up the issue at its Camp Sitting in Bhubaneswar in the third week of August, 2014.