CHENNAI: At least 31 bonded labourers were rescued from a rock quarry in Cheyyar revenue division in Tiruvannamalai, according to K Priya, Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Cheyyar division.
Acting on a complaint from International Justice Mission (IJM), Priya along with five revenue officials and five policemen conducted a rescue operation to free bonded labourers, who are Irulas hailing from Tozhupedu village in Kancheepuram district. The RDO said rock quarry owner Chandrasekar paid the victims approximately Rs 17 per head a day, which is far below the Tamil Naduâ€™s minimum wage of Rs 136.02 per day.
The labourers were made to work for more than 12 hours a day. The quarry owner also denied them freedom of movement and freedom to work in other places, outside the quarry. Soon after the rescue operation, the district authorities conducted an enquiry into the facilityâ€™s labour practices and found that 31 workers were victims of forced labour.
The RDO then issued Release Certificates to 25 adults and six children, officially identifying them as bonded workers and entitling them to government rehabilitation fund. â€śWe gave them an immediate relief of Rs 1,000 of the Rs 20,000 rehabilitation fund. The remaining will be paid to them once they reach Kancheepuram,â€ť she said.