Traditional industries will be protected: CM
By Express News Service - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
14th December 2012 12:23 PM
The State Government is committed to protect the traditional industries of the state by providing them with adequate support, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly on Thursday.
Replying to points raised by P K Gurudasan of the CPM on the issue while seeking permission to move an adjournment motion, the Chief Minister agreed that indiscriminate imports of processed cashew would adversely affect the state in many ways, especially the vast work force, mainly poor women employed in the sector. Chandy said that he had already written the state’s concern to the Centre. Chandy also agreed that there was exploitation of workers by some private cashew processors in the state.
“I assure the House that such exploitation would be dealt sternly,’’ he said.
He pointed out that Rs 29.75 crore was earmarked for the cashew sector in 2011-12 and in the current fiscal, the allocation was Rs 22 crore. The government has also ensured that cashew workers are now paid Rs 210 as daily wages as against only Rs 150 paid during the time when the previous government demitted office. Chandy refuted the charge of Gurudasan that the number of days the workers in government-run factories received employment has come down sharply.
“Last year, 288 working days were there in the Cashew Development Corporation-owned factories and in the case of CAPEX factories, it was 266 days. It is true that only 128 days of employment could be provided this year and the factories are lying closed for the past 28 days. We’ll settle the issue soon.’’ he said.
In coir and coir products sector also, daily wages paid to workers had gone up from Rs 150 to Rs 210. The government is also adopting a humane approach while dealing with occasions like the unnatural death of a worker employed in the traditional industries sector owing to various reasons, the Chief Minister said. Though there are difficulties to support the beedi manufacturing sector in view of the court ban on tobacco products, the government had been able to give retrospective effect to ESI benefits for the workers in the sector.
For the handloom sector, apart from the benefits of a huge Central package, the Centre has allotted `25 crore for revival of cooperative institutions. Minimum wages had been enforced for workers in the khadi sector, he said. Traditional fishermen in the state have been brought under the Debt Relief Commission. The toddy sector has been accorded priority by the government, he said.
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