The secretary of Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC), Mr Raj Kishore Choudhury asked the district administration of Bolangir to be more pro-active in checking practice of bonded labour while observing that media has played a key role in the direction.
Mr Choudhury, who was here to attend a day-long sensitization and training programme on bonded labour, lamented that such abominable practices bring a bad name to the state in general and district in particular. Critical of the alleged ineptness and inefficiency of the administration to tackle the matter, he pointed out that the district administration has not yet conducted a single review meeting of the vigilance committee on bonded labour nor has registered a single case. “The district administration needs to be more sensitive and sincere in the issue,” he said.
Attending the programme organised by well-known outfit Human Right Front (HRF) in association with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Bolangir SP Mr R Prakash admitted to the prevalence of bonded labour practice while noting that there are certain practical problems dealing with the matter.
Mr Prakash, while admitting that thousands of unaccounted labourers move to different parts of the country in an unregistered manner, pointed out that most of them are not provided with work pass-book though it has been made mandatory as per the Interstate Migration Act. “Police often fail to pinpoint the position of the labourers as they are hardly registered and fail to prevent their exploitation by unscrupulous elements,” he said.SP Mr Prakash also noted that the children are the worst sufferers of the practice as their education is neglected.
“Apart from stringent implementation of the guidelines, stress may also be laid on creating massive public awareness on the issue. Police should be immediately intimated of any violation so that prompt action may be taken,” he said.
Well-known human rights activist Mr Baghambar Pattnaik and chairperson of HRF Mr Manoj Jena along with senior civil and police officials attended the programme.