District Administration rescues bonded labourers immediately after receiving information

13 February 2018, Chenglepet Revenue Division: As soon as Sub Collector of Chenglepet, Mr. Jayaseelan, IAS heard about bonded labour victims seeking rescue from a wood cutting unit, he assigned the Thasildar from Thiruporur to lead the rescue operation.
 
Upon reaching the work site, the government team found that 11 people had been working to repay a meagre debt claim of Rs. 6,000 for six years. The labourers, however alleged that they had taken an advance of Rs. 4,500. They were promised to be paid Rs. 800 per day but were paid Rs. 150 per three-six days – all for cutting one-two tonnes of casuarina wood.
 
The owner of the wood cutting unit stopped the labourers from ever leaving the work site or finding employment elsewhere. Fifteen people including 4 children below 3 years, were forced to live in a single dilapidated shack in the same premises. One of the labourers was brutally beaten using the wood they had cut, for taking a few days off from work.
 
The officials were highly sensitive to the needs and realities of these victims. Once they declared it to be a bonded labour case, they even took the labourers to a hotel to provide lunch for them – an act of kindness that was probably never witnessed in the lives of these marginalised people.
 
In addition to 11 Release Certificates, the Sub Collector also distributed clothes to survivors and arranged for a place for them to stay the night. Since they did not have a place to go back to, he assured them that he will give them land.
 
The owner was taken into Police custody and was arrested.