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More than 32 bonded labourers, including 12 minors, were rescued from a brick-kiln manufacturing unit at Kanumpalli cross in Garladinne of Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district.
Based on the Collector’s order, a joint operation was carried out by a team of officials from Revenue, Child Welfare and Labour Welfare departments, along with the police after a complaint by activists.
Human rights activists had brought the alleged torture of minors and unhealthy work conditions to the District Collector’s attention. Officials said that Shekar from Anantapur and Srinivas from Nellore own and operate the brick kiln manufacturing unit.
Rights activist and a freelance journalist from Odisha, Sushant Panigrahi, has written a mail to Anantapur District Collector and other officials concerned of the state governments of both Andhra and Odisha. All the rescued labourers belong to Khurlumuda village of Turekela block of Odisha’s Bolangir district.
“Women labourers were being forced to work overtime, and children were also beaten up to do work. There was no proper potable drinking water, and ₹200 was being paid for meals per person per week,” The News Minute quoted Sushant as saying.
He claimed that all of the workers belong to the SC/ST and Other Backward Communities (OBCs).
Collector S Satyanarayana said that they have credible information about bonded labour in a brick kiln unit and all of them will be rescued. “Necessary action will be taken following the report from revenue officials,” he said.
The children have been taken to a hospital for a health check-up. All 12 of them were given to the custody of the Child Welfare Department.
Kurnool Taluka Circle Inspector Krishna Reddy said, “The owners of the company through middlemen brought the labourers from Odisha, by giving ₹30,000-40,000 advance per six months. Labourers said they were being given a mere ₹600 per 1,000 bricks and ₹300 a week for meals per person.”
“Revenue officials haven’t yet filed a complaint. Once they do, we will look into the charges and take action,” he added.
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