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Odishatv Bureau

Bolangir: As many as 98 bonded labourers, including 18 children were rescued by police today at Kantabanji railway station in Bolangir. Eleven persons working as middlemen were also detained by the police.

"50 male, 20 female and 18 children being trafficked to brick kilns in Hyderabad, Chirlapalli, Kunoor in Andhra Pradesh were rescued," said Kantabanji SDPO, Prafulla Mishra.

Earlier on Sunday, police had also rescued 25 labourers waiting at Lathore railway station to be taken to Hyderabad and 19 others staying at the house of an agent in Barbahal village.

"Some persons including children were being trafficked to Hyderabad to work in a brick kiln. They had been provided Rs 20,000 per head. However, the person taking them did not possess the adequate license for such work," said Bargarh's Rural Labour Inspector Manabhanjan Pradhan.

Even though the government is yet to release official data, sources said 11 out of 14 blocks in Bolangir are staring at drought. Crop loss due to lack of adequate irrigation facilities have broken the backbone of farmers forcing them to migrate in search of work outside the state.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi during his visit to the district a week back had reviewed the crop yield status and accepted the drought situation. However, Sethi had denied that anyone has migrated outside the State to work as bonded labourer.

"Migration has not started yet. More employment opportunities will be provided in the regions showing distress signals," Sethi had said.

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