Odisha migrant worker longs to hear from his family confined in Karimnagar

He was made to work for over 16-18 hours every day and even after all that, he wasn’t paid his monthly salary.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  31 Jan 2022 3:40 PM GMT
Odisha migrant worker longs to hear from his family confined in Karimnagar

Chittaram Deep and his family consisting of his wife, daughter, and son came from Nuapada in Odisha to Karimnagar in Telangana in August 2021. Like every other labourer migrating from different states to cities like Hyderabad, Chittaram was also hopeful of finding a good job and earning a decent livelihood. But what awaited him here in Hyderabad was an entirely different scenario.

Chittaram started working in the SMR brick factory, run by a person named Seth Santhosh Patel, in Raghopur village in Peddapalli mandal in Karimnagar. He was made to work for over 16-18 hours every day and even after all that, he wasn't paid his monthly salary.

Chittaram kept asking the owner for his salary. In November, Chittaram's father became ill and he wanted to go to Odisha. Before leaving, he asked Seth if he could get his salary so that he could use it for his father's treatment. Seth assured him that he would send it to him by post. A hopeful Chittaram boarded the train for Odisha, leaving behind his wife and children in the factory. After reaching Odisha, Chittaram tried contacting Seth for the money but he could not contact him. He somehow managed to collect some money from his acquaintances and cleared his father's medical bills.

Meanwhile, he was unable to contact his family. He grew suspicious and contacted a man from a local NGO in Odisha who works with the collectorate and gave a complaint in writing to the collector. The local NGO guy contacted Rajat Pande, founder and president of Sakhal, an NGO based in Hyderabad, working primarily on issues of migrant labourers. Pande tweeted information about the case from the Sakhal Twitter handle. "As per the information we obtained, the family is being harassed and is confined in the brick factory. They are made to work for 24 hours, no payment is made, and are also not allowed to go beyond the boundaries of the brick factory," says Rajat. Rajat and his team are trying to contact the owner and trace Chittaram's family.

Rajat explains the working environment that these migrant labourers usually end up in. "People from Odisha, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh come to Hyderabad to work in factories. Among them, most of the people from western Odisha work in brick factories here. These migrant labourers are supposed to inform the respective local governments in their state and also the labour department in Telangana. But most of the time they are lured with money by labour agents in their states asking them not to inform the government," says Rajat.

He further adds that once in their workplace, these people face a lot of problems, including working for 16-18 hours a day without payment. "And the women in these families are subjected to a lot of torture ranging from rape to other kinds of harassment which we cannot think of," adds Rajat.

Rajat later updated that the superintendent of police in Odisha and the Odisha labour department spoke to Seth after which he apparently contacted some of the villagers in Odisha supposedly to negotiate and close the case. Since then, he cannot be reached. The family also cannot be contacted.

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