Mrunal Manmay Dash

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sent a notice to the Odisha government seeking an action taken report (ATR) after a migrant labourer in Koraput district was forced to carry the body of his dead wife on his shoulders for over 33 km last week.

The Commission has sought the report within four weeks after a petition was filed by an advocate and rights activist, Radhakanta Tripathy.

The Commission stated "It is alleged that on February 8, 2023, a poor migrant worker Samula Pangi from Koraput, Odisha walked for several kilometers with his wife's ( Ide Guru aged 30 years) body on his shoulder after she died in an auto rickshaw while returning from a hospital in neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh.”

The Commission cited other incidents of exploitation of migrant workers in the hands of contractors. “In another incident, a migrant worker from Gajapati district suffered serious injuries when his hands were chopped off by the labour contractor. Similar atrocities were faced by another migrant worker from Nuapada, whose fingers were chopped off by contractor,” the Commission highlighted.

Tripathy further alleged that the poor and migrant labourers are facing rampant exploitation wherein their right to life and livelihood are being blatantly violated by the contractors/middlemen due to sheer negligence and prolonged inaction on part of State authorities. He suggested some short term and long term measures and sought intervention of the Commission.

(Reported By Sibananda Rout, OTV)