Eight bonded labourers of quarry get new lease of life
By Express News Service - CHENNAI
08th December 2012 08:58 AM
Eight bonded labourers were rescued from a quarry after revenue divisional officer of Cheyyar Division in Tiruvannamalai district and International Justice Mission conducted a raid in Salavedu village in Vandavasi taluk.
RDO of Cheyyar, K Priya, said a total of 14 people were brought out of the facility after six years in “bondage”. These include nine adults, four of them women, and five children. She said an elderly lady stayed in the facility and did not work and hence, she was not identified as bonded labourer.
Interestingly, one among the rescued persons was a 10-day-old child, said the RDO. She said all the people belonged to Madurantakam and a protection complaint had been filed in the area.
She said operator of the rock quarry, Sekhar, paid the victims around `50 per person per week, which was below the minimum wage of `136.02 per day fixed by the State government.
The labourers were made to work for more than 12 hours each day. The quarry owner also denied the labourers freedom of movement and the freedom to work outside of the facility.
Immediately after the rescue operation, the district administration conducted an inquiry into the facility’s labour practices and found that the eight bonded labourers were victims of illegal forced labour practices at the hands of the facility owner.
Priya issued release certificates to the rescued labourers officially identifying them as victims of bonded labour and entitling them to government rehabilitation funds. She also distributed the initial rehabilitation sum of `1,000 to each of the released labourers. The remaining `19,000 would be paid after their rehabilitation, she added.
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