Around 16 labourers of Jharkhand (Chaibasa), who were held hostage in Ice Island of Andhra Pradesh have been freed after the intervention from Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
All the rescued labourers are being brought back to Jharkhand by train, said an official statement on Thursday.
According to the information, they were taken hostage on the pretext of work in Ice Island of Andhra Pradesh, stated a press release.
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 Labor Department, Jharkhand, added the press release.
On the instructions of the Chief Minister, the Migrant Control Room came into action and took up the matter with the highest authorities at the Andhra Pradesh government. A joint team of Andhra Pradesh Police and the Labor Department raided the place and rescued hostage workers, according to the press release.
The contractor had taken them to Andhra Pradesh on the pretext of getting good work and wages, whereas violating all the norms these labourers were forced to work for 22 hrs a day, as per the statement.
A contractor named Ramesh had taken the labourers to Andhra Pradesh. Upon reaching there, all the labourers were moved to different locations, then finally they were indulged in fish farming on the island. In Ice Island, workers were made to work for 22-22 hours.
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. Everyone was forced to live in a hellish situation. Also, the food available to them was scarce.
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.
Workers got a 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 the morning of 2 December 2021. They expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister, Shri Hemant Soren and the state government through a video message.