16 J"khand migrant workers rescued from Andhra Pradesh after Soren"s intervention

  • | Thursday | 2nd December, 2021

Ranchi, Dec 2 (PTI) As many as 16 migrant workers of Jharkhand who were allegedly held captive at an island in Andhra Pradesh for fish farming have been rescued, an official release here said on Thursday. The workers, shifted to the island on November 15, were apparently forced by a contractor to work for 22 hours a day and abused and beaten up on occasions for refusing to work, it said. "Sixteen workers of Chaibasa, who were held hostage at Ice Island of Andhra Pradesh, have been freed due to the efforts of the state government. All the workers are being brought back to Jharkhand," said the statement. In a video released by the Jharkhand government, one of the workers is heard saying: "We reached Vijaywada on November 15. From there, we were taken to a deserted island in Malleswaram and held hostage.... Instead of the promised eight hours of work, we were forced to work for 22 hours and abused without proper drinking water and food." The government statement also said the workers were assured of suitable work by a contractor and later forced to do fish farming. "Chief Minister Hemant Soren, on learning about their plight, directed the Labour Superintendent, Chaibasa, and the State Migrant Control Room of the labour department to ensure the return of workers to their homes without delay. As per his instructions, the control room coordinated with the Andhra Pradesh authorities. After this, the team of Andhra Pradesh Police and officials of the labour department there raided and freed the workers," the release said. Workers were routinely beaten up and made to live in unhygienic condition without proper food. "Frustrated, the workers told the contractor they would want to return to Jharkhand. After that, they were taken hostage and not given wages. The food was also stopped," the statement said. On the initiative of the state migrant control room, wages of Rs 48,000 have now been paid to the workers for 15 days. All the workers have left for Jharkhand by train from Vijayawada station on Thursday morning. They have expressed their gratitude to the chief minister and the state government through a video. Earlier, the Jharkhand government had rescued 32 migrant workers and their five children, residents of Santhal Parganas region, from Kerala where they were forced to work at a tea garden under adverse conditions.? In another instance, tribal migrant workers and their children who were made to live like bonded labourers at a brick kiln in Uttar Pradesh were also set free and brought home by the government. PTI NAM RMS RMS

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