The report of 19 labourers going missing from Kurung Kumey district should be an eye opener for the people of the state. As per report, the labourers, who were engaged in construction activity near the India-China border, fled after they were denied Eid holiday. Most of them are poor labourers from Assam. Sixteen days have gone but till now they have not been traced. In this case, it seems that the sub-contractor, who also hails from Assam, cheated on both the labourers and the local contractor. He took huge money from the contractor to bring these labourers and left for home, citing some domestic issues.
He is reported to have switched off his phone and is untraceable. The labourers were left on their own. The state government, in particular the labour department, should look into this issue seriously. There are many such instances of middlemen from Assam who exploit poor labourers. Many a time the labourers are not told the actual work site when they are brought from Assam. Naturally, when the labourers are taken to interior areas, where there is no proper mobile and road network, they start to become homesick. This is where a conflict starts between labourers and local contractors. In this recent case also, it seems the labourers were not informed properly about the location of the work site by the sub-contractor. Such middlemen need to be taken to task for exploiting the poor labourers. Meanwhile, let’s hope that the 19 missing labourers are traced at the earliest. Their families must be going through an agonising time.