Saturday, December 20, 2014

263 B’NGIR BONDED LABOURERS TO GET REHAB SUM Sunday, 21 December 2014 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

263 B’NGIR BONDED LABOURERS TO GET REHAB SUM
Sunday, 21 December 2014 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
The livelihood assistance of 263 bonded labourers of Balangir district, which was pending since 2011 with the State Government, will be disbursed within seven days. This was announced by Balangir Collector Dr M Muthukumar.
According to Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, a labourer who is rescued from a worksite or other places is entitled to get Rs 20,000 as financial assistance. He/she is given Rs 1,000 on the spot and the rest Rs 19,000 is given later for a livelihood plan. The rehabilitation plan is prepared and submitted to the DRDA which sends the proposals to the Panchyati Raj (PR) department for release of assistance. While the State Government gives Rs 10,000, the Central Government also gives a matching grant of Rs 10,000.
The issue of pending assistance of bonded labourers and apathy to them by the PR department was first highlighted in The Pioneer on October 20. After the publication of the report, it was also put up at the Camp Court of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) at Bhubneshwar in November last and the NHRC had issued strict instruction to the Secretary, PR department, to immediately release the financial assistance pending for years.

The PR department Secretary subsequently issued a letter to all district Collectors to arrange funds at their own source and ensure payment to the rescued bonded labourers. However, many feel that the assistance amount of Rs 20,000 is inadequate and it should be hiked to Rs 40,000. Sources said after 263 bonded labourers get livelihood assistance, still around another 45 labourers would have to wait to avail the benefit.
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