Odisha, Dec 12, 2019: Thirty three labourers including 14 minors were rescued by police personnel from a railway station in Bolangir, a district in western Odisha, while they were allegedly being trafficked on Thursday, Hindustan Times reported.
Bolangir SP Madkar Sandeep Sampat said police had rescued the labourers from the Tureikela police station area while they were about to be trafficked to Andhra Pradesh. The SP said some agents were planning to take the labourers by train to the neighbouring state when the police carried out the raid. They were subsequently taken to Tureikela police station for questioning. All the rescued labourers hail from Belpada block in the district.
The labour sardar, who was taking them to other state, is however, absconding. The police have launched a search operation to locate him. A day earlier, 16 migrant labourers were rescued from the Kantabanji railway station in the same district.
About 3 to 4 lakh people, including women and minor children from western Odisha districts of Bolangir, Nuapara, Kalahandi and Bargarh go to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala to work in brick kilns for meagre remuneration. These people take an advance from labour middlemen in August and September and start travelling to brick kilns and other construction sites around November and December.
The distress migration of labourers has come even as the state government in September this year announced rations under the National Food Security Act from September to workers in Bolangir and Nuapara. The government reasoned that as most migrations would start from September, giving ration in one installment was a way to prevent the food insecurity which emerges during those months.
The government had also planned to give at least 200 days of assured employment in those two districts under MNREGS.