Bhubaneswar: Over 600 migrant workers, including 170 children, were rescued in Odisha in a crackdown launched after the brutal torture of two labourers in the state three days ago, an official said Friday.

The labourers, including 180 women, were rescued Thursday while they were waiting at Nuapada district’s Khariar road railway station, about 560 km from here, to board the train to Uttar Pradesh, district labour officer N. Kumura told IANS.

The workers mostly belong to villages in Nuapada and Bargarh districts. Some of them also belong to the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh.

Efforts were on to nab the contractors who managed to escape during the raid, Kumura said.

The rescued workers were sent back to their villages, and the administration will ensure that they get work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), he said.

Two labourers had their hands cut off allegedly by a labour contractor and his accomplices in Odisha’s Bolangir district three days ago. Police have so far arrested five people, including the contractor, and detained some others for questioning.

Odisha’s western districts, including Nuapada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Rayagada and Bolangir, are considered some of the most economically backward areas in the country.

Every year, thousands of residents migrate in search of jobs. They are often exploited by middlemen and labour contractors.

Source: IANS