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TN to issue release letter , interim compensation for rescued bonded labourers

- April 2, 2022

Chennai, April 2 (BPNS)

The Tamil Nadu labour department has commenced proceedings to issue ‘release letters’ and sanction interim compensation of Rs 20,000 each to the bonded labourers who were rescued from a Virudhunagar paper mill by activists in 2020.

This is following the Madras High Court issuing notice to the labour department on a Public Interest Litigation filed by M. Arokiasamy Britto, a social worker who was instrumental in rescuing the bonded labourers.

According to the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976 and the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers,2016, the state government must issue a ‘release certificate’ and an interim compensation amount of Rs 20,000 to the labourers 24 hours within their release. However, Arokiasamy Britto in his petition stated that he along with the District Legal service authority officials and Virudhunagar police officials had rescued 33 Chattisgarh natives from a paper mill in Sivakasi,  Virudhunagar district in December 2020 and had sent them home.

The social activist who is also the convenor of ‘Shout For Freedom’ an alliance of several Non-profit organisations working against bonded labour, child labour and human trafficking in Tamil Nadu said that to date the labour department has not issued a ‘release letter’ nor have they paid any compensation to these labourers.

While speaking to BPNS, Britto said, “ I have moved a Public Interest Litigation in the Madras High court against this matter and the court has served notice to the Tamil Nadu state labour department”.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court represented by Justices Paresh Upadhyay and Justice R. Vijayakumar had issued notice to the labour department on Friday and adjourned the case to April 18th.

The social workers had rescued 33 bonded labourers including 29 men, 2 women and 2 children from the clutches of the paper factory owner at Sivakasi in Virudhunagar district.