Delay in disbursing benefits hits Bamboo workers hard
By Pramod Thomas | ENS | Published: 14th September 2013 11:25 AM |
The charm of Onam is likely to elude about 6,500 families across the state who depend on the collection of bamboo, weaving and other related activities for their livelihood under the Kerala State Bamboo Corporation (KSBC) as their statutory benefits are pending.
Quoting financial difficulties, the Corporation delayed this month’s salary by three days and benefits like pension and dearness allowance have been pending for the past couple of months. Workers are planning to intensify the protest as they are unsure about getting the benefits this festival season.
“The management has increased the minimum wages and workload simultaneously which has made things worse. When the workers declared an agitation, the management announced that benefits will be given by Onam. As most of the people associated with the Corporation falls in the lower income group, they are having a hard time now. The delay in disbursing statutory benefits like pension has had a severe impact on these people,” said S Sarma MLA, who leads the agitation. It is learnt that about 20,000 workers and 115 employees are associated with the KSBC, headquartered in Angamaly. The workers are scattered in Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts. The dearness allowance of the workers was increased by Rs 86.40 on May 1 thus taking the total wages to Rs 250.
KSBC Chairman P J Joy said that the benefits are being delayed due to the non-supply of bamboo ply worth Rs 4 crore and bamboo mat worth Rs 1 crore due to monsoon.
“We have requested the government to sanction Rs 4.05 crore to disburse the benefits. We hope to get the same by Onam,” he hoped.