Bonded labourers rescued near Shivamogga

Revenue Department officials, on Wednesday, rescued 27 bonded labourers, native of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, engaged in construction work at the University of Agriculture and Horticultural Sciences at Iruvakki near Sagar in Shivamogga district. The workers were forced to work for low wages to clear the advances received from two people, who supply labourers for construction works.

A team of officers led by V. Prasanna Kumar, Sagar Sub-Division Assistant Commissioner, conducted the raid at the construction site and rescued the workers.

Based on a complaint filed by the Assistant Commissioner, Sagar Rural Police have registered a case. The accused Modavth Hunia and Eshwaraiah of Mehaboob Nagar in Telangana allegedly paid each person an advance ranging from ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh two years ago and brought them to Iruvakki.

The workers would get a salary of ₹5,500 per month, which would be adjusted to the advances. The workers were provided with shelter and food at the construction site. They would get only two days break in a month and never allowed to go out of the place.

Mr. Prasanna Kumar, Assistant Commissioner, told The Hindu that the workers were forcibly brought to work and they were not allowed to go out. “They were forced to work for the advance they had been paid and their salary was less than the minimum wages. This attracts the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976”, said the officer.

The State Government would be paying compensation of ₹20,000 each to the released labourers. The AC issued release orders to 27 people on Wednesday. “Including children, there are around 35 people. They all would be sent back to their native place by a KSRTC bus today”, the officer added.

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