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Oppn UDF walkout in Ker assembly over cashew workers problems

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

Congress-led opposition members today staged a walkout from the assembly over the government's alleged failure to resolve the problems faced by over 2.50 lakh workers in the cashew sector.

The sought to move an adjournment motion on the issue, saying most cashew units in public and private sector remained closed, pushing workers into virtual poverty.

However, with P Sreeramakrishnan disallowing the motion after Pinarayi Vijayan's reply rejecting the opposition's charge, the members trooped out of the house.

Earlier, Vijayan said efforts were on to reopen the closed private cashew units.

During the 2017-18, factories under the State Cashew Corporation and State Cashew Workers Apex Industrial Co-operative Society(APEX) provided jobs for 228 and 178 days respectively, he added.

Vijayan rejected the opposition's charge that the workers were not getting medical treatment benefits of Employees State Insurance Corporation and said 82,000 workers under ESI were getting the benefits.

Steps have also been taken to expand cashew cultivation in the state to increase productivity, he said.

On the problems faced by small and medium scale private cashew factory owners, Vijayan said a meeting of stakeholders, including banks and RBI representatives, had decided to keep in abeyance all revenue recovery proceedings by banks on non-repayment of loans.

"A comprehensive revival package for cashew sector is under preparation. Government is confident that it can usher a new atmosphere in the sector," Vijayan added.

However, disputing the government claims, of the Opposition in the assembly alleged that government had failed miserably in tackling the crisis in the cashew sector.

Of 820 cashew units, only 50 big factories in the private sector were now functioning, he said and demanded government immediately announce an interim relief of Rs 10,000 to cashew workers.

Chennithala alleged that even as workers in the sector were facing problems, both the government-run KSCDC and CAPEX had spent money for purchasing new cars.

He alleged that the Kerala Cashew Board, set up by the government, with a mandate to ensure adequate procurement of raw nuts for the industry, has become a 'white elephant.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 15:16 IST