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State: 16 Chaibasa workers rescued from Andhra Pradesh

Ranchi: As many as 16 labourers of West Singbhum (Chaibasa), who were held hostage in Ice Island of Andhra Pradesh have been freed after the intervention from the chief minister Hemant soren. All the rescued labourers are being brought back to Jharkhand by train. According to the information, they were taken hostage on the pretext of work in Ice Island of Andhra Pradesh. 

Gaurishankar Yadav, a social worker from Andhra Pradesh, got the first information about the workers being taken hostage. He shared the information with the state migrant control room under the state labour department here. State government soon swung into action and took up the matter with authorities in Andhra Pradesh government. A joint team of Andhra Pradesh police and labor department raided the place and rescued hostage workers, informed a communiqué from the state IPRD department on Thursday.

“The contractor had taken them to Andhra Pradesh on the pretext of getting good work and wages. However, the labourers were forced to work for 22 hours a day in violation of prescribed rules,” it added.

A contractor named Ramesh had taken the labourers to Andhra Pradesh. Upon reaching there, all the labourers were moved to different locations, were indulged in fish farming on the island. According to the information received from the labourers, they were made to work even at night. When they refused to go to work, the owner used to abuse and beat them. Workers said that even clean drinking water was not available for them.

After a while, workers informed the contractor about their plight and expressed their desire to go back home. On this, the owner abused all the labourers and took them hostage and stop paying their wages. “Food was given only once a day,” said IPRD, adding that workers have now got their due payment of 15 days wages.

“On the initiative of the State Migrant Control Room, a total sum of Rs 48,000 has been paid to the labourers against their wage for 15 days. All the labourers have boarded a train from Vijayawada station for Jharkhand on December 2. They expressed their gratitude to the chief minister through a video message,” it said.