23 labourers detained in South Africa return home

Bhubaneswar: It was a nostalgic homecoming for 23 Odia labourers who were detained and subjected to inhuman treatment in South Africa.

The release of labourers belonging to Jajpur, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur districts was possible after state government sought intervention of Union government following which the Indian Embassy in South Africa was asked to initiate dialogue with the local government to free stranded labourers.

Of the 23 workers, 19 were from Kodamapal and Nesta villages under Dharmasala block in Jajpur. On their return on Tuesday, the family members, relatives and the villagers burst into tears of joy and embraced them.

Earlier, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had urged Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi to take up the matter.

The workers were sent to South Africa to work for a cement manufacturing company by local agents in Hyderabad with a promise of good food, housing facility and remuneration. However, the reality was nowhere close to what had been assured. They were forced to work under hostile conditions without food and basic necessities.

After the matter was reported in media, the government put up efforts to ensure safe release of the workers.