FOLLOWING A brawl between two groups of labourers working on the Tidong hydropower project in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, over 60 migrant workers have returned to Jharkhand while more are on their way back, according to officials.
“So far, a total of 61 workers have returned home in four batches and the process is going on. All the workers are residents of Khunti, Torpa, Bandgaon and other parts of the state,” the Jharkhand government said in a press statement on Monday. According to site in-charge Prakhar Shukla, a total of about 150 workers from Jharkhand wanted to return home.
Police said two groups of labourers — one from Jharkhand and the other from Himachal, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal — clashed following an incident on October 2, when a drunk labourer from Jharkhand allegedly relieved himself near the water tank. When he was reprimanded by the health and safety officer, Ajay Kumar, other labourers from Jharkhand allegedly beat up Kumar. The next day, some labourers from Jharkhand who were allegedly involved in the clash were beaten up by another group of labourers.
“All this happened under the influence of liquor. The police team is in touch with the labourers and the situation is under control,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kinnaur, Naveen Jhalta.
Shukla said the labourers who left had been paid. “If the labourers are alleging that they were confined, they are lying. If we send them together, our work will be hampered. We are sending them in small groups. There were more than 400 labourers at the site. Of these, about 150 had some problems. They all go home during this month every year,” he said.
“We are being paid our dues. We were thrashed by other labourers even after the matter went to the police,” said Abhishek, one of the labourers who returned to his village near Ranchi.
Meanwhile, Himachal Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh said nobody from the Jharkhand government had contacted him.
Rajni Tape, a counselor at the migrant control room in Ranchi, said guardians of some of these labourers had approached the labour officer. She said she raised this issue with Dharmendra Rathi, owner of the project, who assured her that the labourers would be allow to return.
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