Jaipur: A bonded laborer has been freed from the clutches of a brick kiln owner with the initiative of News24 website and with the help of social workers of Rajasthan. Let us tell you that on News 24 On wednesday It was reported that Bodhi Lal, a resident of Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh (in the main picture) For the last one month, forcible work was being done on a brick kiln in Bhilwara, Rajasthan.
On this we contacted social worker Bhanwar Meghwanshi and Shaitan Regar, Bhilwara district secretary of Rajasthan Pradesh Brick Kiln Mazdoor Union. Realizing the seriousness of the matter, he showed prompt action and Workers warning of legal action to the concerned brick kiln owner and contractor Bodhi Lal not only from there Freed him, but also sent him for home after getting his full remuneration.
In this whole matter Bhanwar Meghvanshi; News 24 tells the Hindi website that ‘Given the seriousness of the corona epidemic, our priority was to send the worker to his home safely. If the kiln owner or the contractor had any hesitation in releasing the worker, we would have resorted to law. If the worker wants to take any legal action against the kiln owner or contractor in future, then we will help him in every possible way.
At the same time, Shaitan Regar, who played an important role in this entire episode, says that this is not the story of Bodhi Lal alone. Every year thousands and thousands of laborers are made bonded and made work in brick-kilns.
Regar says that ‘every year from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar to work in brick kilns Contractor thousands of workers Bring Rajasthan. These laborers are brought here in late September or early October and they are made wages till mid-June. These laborers are given some amount in advance at the beginning of the work. But the full dues are paid only after about eight months.
According to Regar, ‘After the season of brick-kilns starts, laborers are not available in the middle. Therefore, the laborers are brought here first and they are contracted on stamp paper that they will work in that kiln for a certain period of time. But usually these stamps do not mention what kind of facilities will be given to the workers during the work. Since these laborers are illiterate, they put their thumb on those stamps and by showing fear of this stamp, the kiln owners force them into bonded labour.’
Referring to the plight of brick kiln workers, Regar explains that ‘this is not only a matter of practical, but also a legal case of people being held hostage’. Sometimes it happens that we free a laborer from the clutches of the kiln owner. But the kiln owners, with the help of the local police and that stamp, sue the freed workers in reverse. One such case came to our notice recently, when we rescued the families of 17 laborers of Banda-Chitrakoot (UP) from the kiln owner, which had about 60 to 70 members including children. But a few days later, the furnace owner sued all those families.
On this, our question to Shaitan Regar was that – once the contract is done, why do these workers want to leave their work in the middle? In response, he says, ‘The contractors are on behalf of the owners while bringing the workers to the kiln’. verbally promise some basic facilities. For example, rooms for living, arrangement of bathrooms or toilets for bathing and bathing of women, electricity for a few hours a day, fuel and wood for heating in winter, etc. But often the workers are denied these facilities after getting their thumb affixed on the stamp.
Reger adds, ‘Kiln owner verbally with these workers They also agree to give a fixed amount every eight to ten days for daily needs like ration etc. But sometimes this amount is not given on time, or it is given very little. Women of laborers are also sexually abused. Their children are also made extra wages. Many kiln owners do not provide fuel to the workers, many cut off the electricity to save their money, beat up the workers for complaining. Abuse is common. In such a situation, if a laborer does not want to run away from there, what will he do?‘
According to Regar,Not only this, since the laborers are illiterate, they are unable to keep an account of the bricks made by them month after month, until after eight months when they are fully accounted for. And taking advantage of this, the contractor or the owner himself grabs a part of their remuneration and these helpless laborers are not able to complain to anyone about this fraud with them.
Experts say that the practice of keeping laborers bonded in brick kilns is not only in Rajasthan, but it is more or less the same in the whole country. According to the ‘World Slavery Report 2016’ of the famous organization Walk Free Foundation, 18 million people worldwide are forced into forced labor. According to this report, the symbols of modern slavery in India are the largest number of these workers, including children. But out of these, the number of lucky ones is negligible as Bodhi Lal, who gets proper help in time.
However, Bodhi Lal has left for his home and Expressing happiness, they also express their gratitude to Shaitan Regar, Bhanwar Meghvanshi and their entire team along with News 24.
first published:Jan. 13, 2022, 6:42 p.m.