Over 500 distressed migrant labourers from Orissa were rescued from a brick kiln in Bonthawakkam village under Tiruvallur district. Tamil Nadu ahead of the International Labour Day on Sunday.
Of the 522 labourers, over 200 are women and another 140 are children below the age of 14. Members of 144 families, are mostly from Orissa’s backward districts of Balangir and Nuapada.
The 2001 census indicated that over 7 lakh people in Orissa are migrant labourers.
The latest rescue followed a joint operation on Thursday by officials from Tamil Nadu’s revenue department, International Justice Mission and international development mission Aide et Action. The authorities have sealed the brick kiln, its owner has been absconding.
The labourers had gone there after receiving advances ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,000 from middlemen in Kantabanji in Balangir.
“They had been promised good food and pay,” said Daya Sagar, who teaches in a school for the children of migrant labourers in Tiruvallur. “But they were not given food for days, made to work for late hours and tortured if they complained.”
Umi Daniel, head, migration thematic unit, Aide et Action, South Asia, told HT: “The labourers were kept in confinement for the last six months. Many of them were sick and the children were worst affected.”party unhappy.