Titlagarh: Women and Child Development Minister Tukuni Sahu announced the construction of a community centre at Titlagarh for the benefit of migrant labourers -particularly for women migrating with children that can be used for the purpose of meetings, training and information dissemination.
While addressing over 900 migrant labourers gathered at an event Jeebanoutsav organised by International Justice Mission (IJM) in Titlagarh, Sahu said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced various welfare schemes to check migration.
While announcing that Rs 20 lakh has been sanctioned for the community centre, Sahu asked the local administration to identify land and prepare a blueprint for the proposed building. She even assured that extra fund will be provided if required.
Bolangir SP Madkar Sandeep Sampat said that though work is being done to check forced migration, the results are not up to efforts. He has instructed all police stations in the district to carry out rescue operations whenever they get any information in this regard but the post-rescue rehabilitation part is important.
People will not enter the vicious circle of migration if they are provided scope of employment or self-employment. Legal migrants can also be saved from harassment with coordination between departments, he added.
Stressing on the need for registration with the gram panchayat before migrating , Labour Commissioner Niranjan Sahu , in his message said, “The state government has several schemes in place to ensure safe migration of labourers and we urge all the labourers to follow the guidelines and apply for benefits and entitlements provided by different departments of the state government.”
“It is very encouraging to see Odisha taking lead and being an example for the country in its efforts to create safe communities for migrant labourers. Coming together of the department of Labour, Panchayatraj, WCD and the Home is commendable not only rehabilitating but also in the preventive rescues done in the migration-prone region ” said Neenu Thomas from International Justice Mission that works alongside the government to combat labour trafficking and unsafe migration.
the labourers discussed, deliberated and appreciated the recent measures taken by the government to combat unsafe migration in the region.
It may be noted that the Odisha Police, in October this year, nabbed close to 100 middlemen involved in labour trafficking from Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi.
Experts working on the issue of Labour Trafficking have billed the number as country’s highest ever one-time arrests for the crime.
Similarly, more than 400 preventive rescues have been conducted by the Odisha Police in Nuapada, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Nowrangpur and Rayagada in the past two months. Several of these were preventive rescues i.e rescued before getting trafficked.
Of this, 139 persons have been rescued and 40 agents have been arrested in Balangir alone. As many as 20 cases have been resisted.
In Nuapada, 284 labourers have been rescued and 23 cases have been registered, informed the district police.
35-year-old Hemanti, a survivor of labour trafficking shared about how an agent promised her work at the chicken coop in Bangalore for Rs 5000 a month. “We toiled for 19 hours a day for three months and the owner paid us nothing at all. He would not let us return home either. Each time we asked money, he would thrash somebody in front of us to instil fear in us. Worse still, our family had to live inside the stinking chicken coop amid the birds and their droppings. “ she narrated.
“We had to cook there and sleep there along with my 2-year-old who would frequently fall ill, but we were not allowed to see a doctor,” added Hemanti who was rescued from the facility in Karnataka in the year 2017.
“I was asked to tear open all the dead chicks and show it to the insurance agent every day for the owner to claim insurance for the disease. Those were the worst days of my life. I am thankful that I am back home,” said Bhujbal, a teenager from Nuapada at the event.
The event was attended by senior officials of the labour department and Odisha police. An array of cultural events and entertaining programmes marked the occasion. Students of social work from Bhubaneswar based NISWASS college performed a skit related to migration and enthralled the audience. There were a host of other awareness programmes to educate the audience on the subject of safe migration.