CHENNAI: It is probably the first time after the introduction of the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers in 2016 that the scheme
has been followed in letter and spirit in a proactive manner. After the massive rescue of 147 labourers, including 36 children, from a brick kiln in Avadi recently, their Aadhar card enrolment, opening of bank accounts and release of rehabilitation amount was completed within three days. The workers were then sent to their native places in Chattisgarh and Odisha on Saturday.
“The labourers were rescued on Wednesday evening. Within 2 days, Aad
har enrolment was done, bank accounts created and the Tiruvallur collector arranged for the required funds (initial amount of `22,20,000, with `20,000 each for 111 workers, including 48 female and 63 male) from the labour department. Before leaving to their hometown, kids and infants were vaccinated,” said Sharon Sathisam from International Justice Mission (IJM).
She added that village administrative officers work round the clock to interview the bonded labour and finish the enquiry.
The release certificates were made in one night as against the usual duration of more than a week. In addition to these benefits, a medical camp was also conducted as most of the workers suffered wounds on their legs due to working in pressing conditions for more than 13 hours a day.
District collector, E. Sundaravalli said the government is following up on the case and encouraged labourers to be vigilant and cautious about not entering into bondage again, also not to fall for the lure of advance.
He also added that officials from revenue department, labour department and police personnel would accompany them till Odisha and hand them over safely to the destination state officials. The bonded labourers were assured that their home district would continue to rehabilitate them.
The workers were educated about the 1077 helpline to register their grievances in the case of any labour related issues.
Bonded labour scheme
According to the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers that came into effect on May 17, 2016, the state government is not required to pay any matching contribution for the purpose of cash rehabilitation assistance.
The rehabilitation package is `1,00,000 per adult male beneficiary. Beneficiary shall have the option to either deposit it in an annuity scheme or receive cash grant.
The district administration will assess the cash requirement of the beneficiary and exercise its best judgement in the matter and put the money under annuity scheme with the consent of the said adult male.
For special category beneficiaries such as children including orphans or those rescued from organised and forced begging rings or other forms of forced child labour. and women.
The amount of rehabilitation assistance shall be `2 lakhs out of which at least `25,000 shall be deposited in an annuity scheme in the name of each beneficiary and the balance amount shall be transferred to the beneficiary account.
Other benefits include (1) Allotment of house-site and agricultural land; (2) Land development; (3) Provision of low cost dwelling units; (4) Animal husbandry, dairy, poultry, piggery (5) Wage employment, enforcement of minimum wages....