As the sugarcane crushing season will start on October 15, the demand for separate registration of women sugarcane cutters is gaining momentum. In a recent meeting at Kathoda in Beed, sugarcane cutter women passed a resolution that they must get separate identity cards and also get representation in the village sanitation and water supply committee. The meeting also passed the resolution that they must be part of the health committees at primary health centres and sub-centres.
Following the BusinessLine reports in 2019 highlighting the woes of sugarcane cutter women, the State Government initiated many programmes for sugarcane cutters. One of the programmes is to keep a record of migrant workers and provide them with an identity cards.
Early this year, late Gopinathrao Munde Sugarcane Workers Welfare Corporation at Pune was inaugurated. According to the State Government, identity cards for sugarcane cutters will help them get benefits from all the government schemes.
Why do daughters of sugarcane cutters want to change the identity of their district?‘Where ever we go, we are recognized as people from district of sugarcane cutters. We are treated as worthless’
Benefits of welfare schemes
“As of now, men are getting identity cards as sugarcane cutters. Names of women are in the records but as a family member of sugarcane cutter man. We need separate identity so that we could get independent recognition as sugarcane cutter workers” said Dwarkati Waghmare, a sugarcane cutter from Kathoda.
Activist Manisha Tokale said that over 10 lakh sugarcane cutters work during the crushing season and the number of women sugarcane cutters is 50 per cent of the total workers.“ A separate registration and identity cards for women sugarcane cutter women will ensure that the benefits of the welfare scheme reach them directly.
Also, their identity as a worker must not be connected to their husbands” she said.
When contractors sign a contract with sugarcane cutters, the contract considers husband and wife as one unit and the contract amount is paid to the husband. The State Government’s registration system has followed the same format and women have objected to it.