Koraput: A tribal man, who left home seven years back in search of work and went missing, was reunited with his family after he was rescued from Punjab where he was working as a bonded labour.
The rescued labourer was identified as Basupati Muduli (40) of Dokeribeda village under Dasmantpur block.
“After we came to know about the incident on March 30, a special team comprising labour officers and police was formed and the team rescued the labourer from Mahindral village in Punjab,” said Koraput Collector Yamini Sarangi.
Muduli had left for Jharsuguda with two villagers in search of work in 2008.
After working as labourer for two years at Jharsuguda, the others returned but Muduli boarded a wrong train by mistake and reached Chandigarh.
“As Muduli was unable to speak any other language except Odia, he failed to tell his address and after few days was engaged in the farmland of a person in Chandigarh,” said Assistant Labour Officer (Koraput), Prasanna Panigrahi, who was in the team that rescued Muduli.
“After working for two years in Chandigarh, he joined a nomad group belonging to Gujjar community and went to Mahindral village on Punjab-Himachal Pradesh border,” he said.
According to Panigrahi, Muduli used to graze the cattle of the community and was physically tortured and was not given food. Gradually, he developed abnormal behaviour and was spotted by a retired army man while he was moving helplessly at Mahindral.
“He took Muduli to hospital and contacted officers of Dasmantpur police station who subsequently informed Muduli’s family about his whereabouts,” he said.
Muduli, who returned to his native place on Tuesday, was in tears. “I had lost all hopes of returning to my village. If today I am here it is because of the retired army officer”.