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Vikash Sharma

Bolangir: Barely three days after Odisha government announced a new livelihood package to curb labour migration, 41 bonded labourers were rescued while they were being allegedly trafficked from Kantabanji area in Bolangir district.

According to reports, Kantabanji police rescued the 41 labourers including 10 minors when they were being taken to Berhampur by a middleman in a bus yesterday. The rescued labourers claimed that they were forced to migrate outside the district due to lack of work.

It is not for the first time that bonded labourers have been rescued in Bolangir district. Earlier in December, 27 migrant labourers from Patnagarh area of Bolangir district were rescued while they were reportedly being taken to work in a brick kiln in Ganjam district.

On January 15, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a special package for 11 migration-affected districts to help workers earn better livelihood. The move was aimed at preventing them from migrating to other states.

As per the announcement, the workers will now get employment for 200 days in a year in 20 vulnerable blocks of four districts-Bargarh, Bolangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi under MGNREGA scheme on a pilot basis. Besides, they will also get Rs 286 as daily wage instead of Rs 188 per day.

The livelihood package is likely to be extended to other seven districts in a phased manner, said government sources.

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