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Tirupur: The district administration on Tuesday confirmed that four men from Bihar were treated as bonded labourers at a coir pith unit near Kangeyam. 

Last week, officials intercepted three of the four men, escaped from the unit, along with three other teenagers who worked at the same unit, at the Central railway station in Chennai. On questioning, they told officials that they were treated as bonded labourers in the unit and escaped from the place. 

Subsequently the three men were brought back to the district for an inquiry while the teenagers were send to a government-recognized home in Chennai.

Meanwhile, another worker from the unit raised the same issue and following this, revenue officials led by Dharapuram sub-collector Pavankumar G Giriyappanavar started an inquiry four days ago.

“We have found that the unit owner had lent advance money of Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 to each man and did not provide them wages. But, in cases like this, only 50% of wages can be deducted and minimum wage should be given. They were not only given minimum wage but made to do work other than they agreed to a middleman. Despite their opposition, the unit owner forced them to work and deprived them of basic amenity like toilet facility,” said Pavankumar.

“The district administration will provide them compensation of Rs 20,000 each, under the bonded labour system (abolition) act, 1976, and the rescued men will return to their native place, as they wished,” he said.

“Though around 30 people, mostly from Bihar, are working in the unit, only the four men had filed a complaint against the unit owner. So, we did not generalise the complaint, however, the issue needed to be investigated thoroughly. A police complaint against the unit owner and the middleman will be filed soon,” he added.

The four men, aged between 19 and 38, are from East Champaran district in Bihar. They came to work in the unit at Parancherivali panchayat in Kangeyam taluk through a middleman, who is also from Bihar, at different time in the past few months.

Published On : 21-03-2019

Source : Times of India

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