Sunday, April 30, 2017


Friday, 28 April 2017 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
(Photograph of Kuntala Jal sharing her experience in atraining of bonded labourers inBolangir)
Kuntala Jal (35), a bonded labour  of Siletpada village of Muribahal block, who had migrated to the brick kilns of Tamil Nadu, has rebuilt lives with dogged determination through wage work under MGNREGS, and resolved not to go for migration again and face the ordeal.
“I had migrated to brick kilns of Tamil Nadu along with my husband and a minor child in 2011.While we worked at brick kilns, my minor son worked as brick head loader there. I took him along with me as in the village we were not getting support from our nearby relations .However, after a few days of working, the brick kiln owner gave only Rs 50 per week which was woefully inadequate and we protested. Our protest incurred the wrath of the brick kiln owner who assaulted us,” says Jal.
However, acting on a complaint, there was a raid in the brick kiln by the Tamil Nadu police and we were rescued from there. Although my son was reading in school, due to migration that was disrupted .After coming from the brick kiln, I ensured the education to my child with difficulty. I worked as daily labourer and then worked as a labourer under the MGNREGS. Last year I earned Rs 35,000 from wage employment and this year I have earned Rs 10,000. I have admitted my son in the Kantabanji College and he is studying in plus two arts final year, adds Jal.
She however laments, “Even though six years have elapsed in the meanwhile, I am yet to receive the remaining bonded labour assistance, totaling Rs 60,000.” I have resolved not to go for migration again and shall try to ensue education to my child to build a better future, Jal maintains.
As per the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, a labourer who is released as bonded labourer is given Rs 1,000 as assistance immediately and the rest Rs 19,000 is given with a rehabilitation plan so that the labourer does not return to bondage again.
According to sources, the rehabilitation assistance of at least ten labourers are lying pending at different blocks of the district. Balangir district has a total of 162 bonded labourers who have not received their rehabilitation assistance since 2013, thanks to the apathy of officials

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