Fresh inquiry into plight of Odia labourers in Malaysia

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Berhampur(Odisha), Feb 19:  Odisha government has asked the labour department here to launch a probe into the reported plight of labourers from Ganjam who were working in Malaysia and submit a fresh report in the matter.

"I have asked the District Labour Officer, Chhatrapur, to inquire into the matter and submit a fresh report," said Assistant Labour Commissioner (ALO) Berhampur Nilambar Mishal following government's instruction.

Odia labourers ill treated in Malaysia

Earlier, DLO Chhatrapur D R Mohanty had inquired into the matter after the parents of the migrant workers had urged district Collector P C Chaudhary to ensure their safe return citing ill-treatment meted out to them at work. Sources said two local persons had taken 13 labourers from Khallikote and Beguniapada blocks to Chennai on April 23, last year. A Chennai-based organisation then took them to Malaysia to work at a construction site.

The youths are from Angaragon (3 persons), Tota village (4), Saura Sachhina (2) and one each from Gundurupalli, Nimina, Bhikapada and K Barida. While one of them Ramesh Rout (38) of Saura Sachhina village returned recently with serious back injury, the rest were desperate to come back.

Their parents were running from pillar to post for their safe journey. Meanwhile, the ALO has also advised the victims and their families of to file a case against the company, where they were working, under the Employees' Compensation Act.

Officials have ensured their safe return citing ill-treatment at work

The plight of Odia labourers working in Malaysia had come to light after some of them, a month ago, informed of the treatment meted out to them to their parents over the phone. "Immediately, we approached the district collector and requested him to ensure their safe return," said Pabitra Behera, father of one Raju who was working there.

"We had told district collector twice about the matter" said Behera. "We are very much worried about their fate," said the parents of another labourer. The workers were engaged in loading and un-loading scrap in the site with a meagre wage.

They also live in a common room with others and use a common toilet, the added. Despite repeated appeals and inquiry by the DLO, no progress was made for their safe return, the parents complained.

"We have already written to the resident commissioner in New Delhi to move the Central government and their counterpart Malaysian government for their safe return," said district collector P C Chaudhary.

PTI

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