Kiln owner’s reticence renders them helpless
Mail News Service
Jamshedpur/Saraikela, May 15: Sometimes, the frailties of human nature expose torture in varied forms including unleashing financial chains and suppressing yearnings for home. These have come to the fore in the case of 18 brick kiln labourers and their families who are famished for food and cash and want to return home to various districts and villages of Chhattisgarh to cultivate their lands.
These labourers had been employed in September last by a brick kiln owner Hathitand Baiganbari under Mudia Panchayat in Gamharia Block. The name of the firm is SHM Brick Factory. The names of the ill fated labourers from various districts of Chhattisgarh are Shivdas Mohan, Dharmdas Mohan, Chaut Man, Naresh Kumar Banjare, Harilal Jangde, Baidhram Banjare, Hiralal Jangde, Amrit Lal Banjare, Laldas Banjare, Shankar Siddharth, Rajkumar Khunt, Bhuvanlal Navratan, Jageshwar Navratan, Kanhaiya Kevat, Visham Kumar Patil, Santosh Kumar Patil and Uday Kumar Patil. They are lodged with their families in the brick field of SHM.
According to the labourers, the kiln owner had initially provided them a week’s rations and whatever money they were given were to be deducted from their final payment. They alleged that the owner had neither enquired about their wellbeing nor had arranged for their home return in spite of several requests.
The workers took their complaints to the Mukhiya Sabita Mahto who said that plans to send them home were being worked out but the brick kiln owner objected to theirs being sent home on the ground that they would be taken back to work after the lockdown was lifted. But the workers and their families are subsisting under pitiable conditions with no money to purchase food.
The Labour Superintendent Rakesh Kumar Sinha stated that many brick kiln owners in Gamharia had given applications for sending their workers home and accordingly many brick field workers were sent by buses upto Raipur. He said the Mudia kiln owner had not given any such application and thus these labourers were held back. “The applications received now, have been forwarded to the Chhattisgarh government for clearance. This is a time consuming process. But it is the responsibility of the brick kiln owners to provide food and lodging to their labourers till they remain in their employment as also to arrange for their home return. There is provision for legal action against brick kiln owners if they fail to discharge their responsibilities towards their labourers,” the Labour Superintendent stated.