Senior Congress leader Debabrata Saikia seeks the Centre’s intervention in the search for the 19 missing labourers in Arunachal Pradesh.
In a letter to the Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh, senior Congress leader Debabrata Saikia, while drawing attention to the incident of the missing 19 labourers in Arunachal Pradesh, hailing from various districts of Assam's Bongaigaon, Kamrup, Kokrajhar, and Goalpara and other neighbouring states, holds BRO accountable for the incident.
As Congress leader Debabrata Saikia mentions in the letter, these laborers were denied leave from the construction site despite having severely dangerous and inhospitable working conditions. Besides that, the 19 migrant workers were allegedly forced to leave the labour camps at the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Damin Circle on July 5 after the contractor allegedly denied them permission to return to their homes in Assam to celebrate Eid al-Adha last week, according to a missing complaint filed by the contractor for whom they were employed.
The Kurung Kumey district administration says that the route they took was through the jungle; there is no road there. Because of this, the rescue operation initiated by the Indian Air Force also faced difficulties continuing. It was also reported that the people at the camp were threatened and were being stopped from coming home.
The senior Congress leader demands that the Union Defence Minister give necessary directions to the concerned authorities to stimulate the rescue operations with the help of the National Disaster Response Force and the local administration. Debabrata Saikia further highlighted that the labourers were engaged in the construction of the Sarli-Hurli road, which began its work in May 2006 under Project Arunank of the BRO.
Congress leader Saikia added, “With labourers working in a very sensitive region, the Border Roads Organisation showed complete negligence towards the incident and tried to escape liability by stating that the labourers do not report to the BRO.
In fact, the entire operation on that stretch of the road – including the manpower – was outsourced to a local contractor of Arunachal Pradesh, leading to a communication and coordination gap,”.
Tragedy struck on July 13 when 19 labourers working on the Border Roads Organisation’s (BRO) Sarli-Hurli road construction project, about 90 km from the India-China border, went missing mysteriously with no information of their whereabouts due to poor communication and road connectivity.
Uncertainty surrounds the whereabouts of the missing 19 labourers as the families of the missing labourers await news of their return.
After two weeks of search operations, the whereabouts of the 19 labourers are still unknown.
Meanwhile, Secretary of Civil Aviation under the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, Swapnil Naik, through a communiqué, mentioned that the Indian Air Force helicopter will join in the search operation to locate the whereabouts of the 19 missing labourers who reportedly fled away from the worksite of road construction agency of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) in Huri area of Damin of Kurung Kumey district.
The search operation will begin tomorrow morning, July 23rd, subject to the weather conditions.
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