A raid by authorities rescued 328 bonded labourers, including 106 children, from a brick kiln in Thiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu. The labourers rescued hail from Odisha and were allegedly made to work for 12 hours per day on a salary of Rs 20, officials said.
The raid was conducted by a district administration team led by revenue official S Jayachandran on Saturday based on inputs from an NGO, International Justice Mission, about the plight of the labourers. Those have been provided Rs 1,000 each by the district administration which has requested the Southern Railway to attach three extra bogies in a train to send them to Odisha this evening, Jayachandran told PTI.
According to a bonded labourer, they were promised salaries of Rs 350-Rs 400 per day for construction work taken up at Pudhukuppam in Thiruvallur district. "But, we were working (in the brick kiln) here on a mere salary of Rs 20 per day for 12 hours," another bonded labourer said. "We had to work for long hours. Most of us were not allowed to access basic food and toilet facilities," the labourer said.
He claimed that some of the labourers were working for several months. Some of the rescued children were below the age of 15, he added. The owner of the brick kiln, who had employed the labourers, is absconding and a case has been registered, an official said.