No let-up in plight of migrating Odisha labourers

Deogarh/Sonepur: The plight of labourers migrating outside Odisha continues with incidents of their exploitation surfacing frequently. Some are rescued from hazardous working conditions and others end up losing their lives while the administration continues to be lethargic in tackling the issue.

In one such tragic incident, a youth named Mayadhar Bariha of Halkapalipada under Binika in Sonepur district went to Tamil Nadu after being lured by higher wages. However, three months after leaving his home, the family members received his dead body. “My son went to Tamil Nadu but returned dead. I request the government to provide us some financial assistance,” said Khirasindhu Bariha, father of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the District Labour Officer (DLO) has assured of action after receiving complaint of exploitation by the family members. Sonepur Labour officer, Dileswar Khakha said “Everybody has the fundamental right to work at any place. We are making efforts that the migrating labourers are not exploited. If complaints of exploitation crop up, we will take strict action.”

In another incident, 11 labourers of Kendeijuri village of Deogarh district were rescued by Riamal Police from Bihar. The labourers were allegedly duped by some middlemen who engaged them in railway track maintenance work at Gaya in Bihar. However, after the labourers alleged of harassment, the family members filed a complaint in the police station following which, Riamal Police rescued the 11 labourers including two minors from Bihar.

“A middleman of our village took us to Bhubaneswar to provide us work. However, he handed us over to another agent, who took us to Bihar for track maintenance work,” one of the rescued labourers said.

Suleman Ekka, SDPO, Deogarh said “The labourers are healthy and we have conducted their medical check-up. Two of them are minors. We have not arrested anyone as the identity of the accused has not been ascertained.”