32 migrant workers rescued from Kerala: Jharkhand govt.

They were forced to work in adverse conditions in a plantation in Idukki

Thirty-two migrant workers and five children hailing from Santhal Parganas region of Jharkhand were rescued from Kerala where they were forced to work in a tea garden in adverse conditions, a State government official said on Thursday.

These distressed workers were brought to Dhanbad by train this morning and from there ferried to Dumka by a special bus arranged by the State government.

The incident comes close on the heels of the Jharkhand government last month rescuing 33 tribal migrant workers and nine children who were forced to live like bonded labourers in a brick kiln in Uttar Pradesh.

This month alone the Jharkhand government rescued a total of 47 children from Delhi who had been trafficked.

On Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s intervention, a joint initiative by the Labour Department’s State Migrant Control Room and a social organisation PHIA Foundation helped rescue 32 workers from Jharkhand and five children from Kerala.

Anita Marandi, a resident of the Dumka district in Jharkhand thanked Mr. Soren for listening to her plea when she and other migrant workers found themselves in a problematic situation in Kerala.

Like Anita, 32 other migrants, hailing from Dumka are also happy.

“The workers had gone to Kerala from Dumka in June, 2021. On reaching Kerala, they were sent to work in a tea garden in Idukki. The workers were kept in a small room. The original Aadhar cards of these workers were seized and ₹1,000 in the name of their travel expenditure was also reclaimed from them,” the official said.

“While working, they were shifted to the Peermed Bethel Plantation, Idukki on behalf of the company. The workers were told that if they want to go back, they can take their Aadhar card after paying an amount of ₹2,20,000 to cover travel expenses. Apart from this, the bus driver there also demanded ₹6,000 per person as fare,” as per the statement.

The Dumka Deputy Commissioner appointed an officer at the district level after talking to the Collector at Idukki.

Dumka district administration and the State migrant control room constituted a team in Kerala. Officials from CMID Ernakulam, Rural Development Department and officials of India Care were also roped in.

“Aadhar Card and other necessary documents of the workers which were seized by the contractor have been recovered with support from the local police,” the statement said.

Action against contractor

It added that the investigation revealed that the contractor from Jharkhand, duped these workers and further action will be taken against the identified offenders.

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