Skip to main content

Free bonded labour in Central Gujarat's brick kiln units: Plea to NHRC, CM

By Our Representative
Does bonded labour exist in Gujarat? While the state officialdom would vehemently deny any such thing, a letter shot by the father of a brick kiln worker in the Kheda district of Central Gujarat has alleged that 21 women and men, two child workers, and 10 very small kids are living and working in a bonded-type condition in three different units.
Belonging to Chhattisgarh, these 21 persons with their children were brought to work in the brick kiln units with the promise of providing them remunerative wages and facilities.
In his letter to the Gujarat chief ministers of Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, written by Dharmakirti Rai, who belongs to Mudpar village of Masturi tehsil in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh, says that these workers were brought in after luring them with some advance. 
"They were told that they would be paid their good wages, but this did not happen. When they demanded wages, they were told these would paid after the Holi festival. Meanwhile, they could make do with meals", the letter, a copy of which has been forwarded to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said.
Following the Holi festival, when the workers again demanded wages, the letter said, "they were refused any wages once more." 
It added, "At the rate of Rs 700 for baking 1,000 bricks, which was agreed upon, each worker was to be paid around Rs 5,000-6,000. The workers told the brick kiln unit owners they would continue working even if the wages were paid on deducting whatever was spent on meals. Even then the owners did pay anything. Instead the owners said they would pay them all their wages once they returned back to their home."
Pointing out that all the workers were living in a state of fear as they were not being allowed to move out of the complex, the letter said, the owner of the brick kilns appeared to be a very influential person. 
"The workers are afraid of speaking out to anyone. Now when they demand wages, they are told that they are indebted to the owners. There is not even arrangement for proper drinking water. Child labour prevails there," the letter said.
The letter reminds the chief ministers, quoting a social worker, that inter-state migrant workers' Act, 1979 regulates those workers who go out to work in other states. Under the Act, the brick kiln workers should have informed the state governments of Chhattisgarh and Gujarat about their decision to take workers to Gujarat. 
"However, this has not happened", the letter said, requesting the chief ministers to take "immediate steps to free the workers living in a bonded type condition". The workers are working in three separate brick kilns in Kaloni, Nayaka and Pathapur in Kheda district, situated within a periphery of four kilometres.

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.