Plight of Odia workers: Women labourers from Dhenkanal narrate their ordeal in Mumbai

Bhubaneswar: Within days of torture of Sundergarh labourers in Andhra Pradesh, another poignant tale of mental and physical torture of two Dhenkanal girls in Mumbai has surfaced. Both the girls from Kankadahad area were allegedly forced to work for 18 to 20 hours per day after they were taken to the financial capital by agent Tiku Sahu and contractor Santosh Sahu of Haripur village.

As per reports, the girls underwent torture for nearly six months before they managed to escape from Mumbai and were rescued by a social outfit from Bhubaneswar railway station.

“We faced problems as we got no money for the work done. The person, who took us from Odisha, forced us to work for nearly 20 hours instead of assured 8-hour job,” said one of the girls.

Chinmayi Sahani, member of the social outfit stated that “There are 35 more women from Odisha who are facing similar atrocities in Mumbai. We demand action against those who lured these women labourers.”

Earlier, a labourer from Hemagir village of Sundergarh district had to face acid attack while the fingers of another were chopped off allegedly by a brick kiln owner in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The condition of Jaydev Chandania, who was injured in acid attack, is still critical and he is battling for life.

“They used to beat us and I was sleeping when they threw acid on me. There are six to seven more labourers held captive there,” said alleged Jaydev.

According to reports, as many as 12 labourers of Hemagiri area in Sundergarh district had gone to Vizianagaram to work in a brick kiln some two and a half months back. The workers alleged that the owner used to thrash them whenever they asked for salary.

The district administration has now geared up to rescue seven more labourers who are still held captive by their employer in Andhra Pradesh.

“We are in contact with Andhra Pradesh government and stern action will be taken against the culprits,” said Labour Minister, Sushant Singh.

Not only Sundergarh or Dhenkanal, the problem of labour migration has assumed serious proportion in nearly 11 districts including Bolangir, Kalahandi and Nuapada. Lakhs of people from these district are migrating to other parts of the country is search of work every year.

Official sources said as many as 1,235 labourers, who were subjected to torture outside the State, were rescued last year while 305 labourers have been rescued so far this year.