There is no let-up in the plight of the workers migrating from Odisha to other states. In a heart-wrenching incident, a migrant worker from Bolangir who had gone to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh died at home on Sunday as he was critically ill after being forced by a labour contractor to work hard at a brick kiln while his 11-year-old daughter was held captive by him.
As per reports, Kanhu Mallick, a labourer of Suleikela under Belapada block in Bolangir district migrated along with her wife and two daughters to Sata Nagar area in Andhra Pradesh two months ago.
Kanhu's wife Laxmipriya Mallick alleged that the labour contractor subjected her husband to excess labour, as a result of which he fell seriously ill. Besides, the labour contractor was also torturing the family.
As Laxmipirya strongly opposed the torture, the contractor allowed the family to leave for the village, but he held his 11-year-old daughter captive, demanding Rs 50,000.
On the other hand, Kahnu and his family came back home five days ago and died on Sunday. Though the bereaved family pleaded with the contractor to set free the minor, the latter did not pay heed.
Finally, the family mortgaged a patch of land for Rs 50,000 and sent the cash to the contractor, but the latter demanded Rs 30,000 more.
Despite sending the money, the contractor is not releasing the minor, the family alleged.
Social activist Supun Khilar said," The labour contractor put Kahnu to excess work and later tortured him. As a result, he died on his way back home and his body reached home on Sunday. The contractor also held the 11-year-old daughter captive."
He demanded that the administration take immediate steps to rescue the girl and stern action against the labour contractor. The state government should provide financial assistance to the migrant family, he added.