National

Plantation body seeks revival of co-ordination committee

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on October 11, 2014 Published on October 11, 2014

Commissioner of Labour, Government of Tamil Nadu P Amudha today assured planters of reviving the Co-ordination Committee, which has over the years become defunct.

The Committee, comprising of secretaries of the labour, forest and revenue departments was constituted at the instance of the then Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi, to facilitate discussion on issues affecting the plantation industry.

After the initial euphoria, this coordination committee, planters point out, went into hybernation.

Responding to the industry's demand for reviving the meetings of this committee which provided a window to ventilate their woes, Ms Amudha assured the revival of the committee and meetings.

Addressing members of the Planters' Association of Tamil Nadu (PAT) at the 61st Annual Conference of the association, she said "while I am convinced that the industry pays (the plantation labourers) wages on time, it is distressing to note that quality of welfare measures such as housing, hospital facilities and sanitation is still poor".

Thus stating, she promised to look at reducing the burden on the industry, while gently advising them to provide qualitative relief.

PAT Chairman T G B Pinto highlighted the plight and unique features of the plantation industry.

According to him, there is little scope for mechanising the operations of plantations as these are located in high terrain and hilly regions.

"The industry therefore is heavily dependent on labour and wages and welfare facilities constitute about 65 per cent of the total production cost. The wage cost is much higher in South India compared to north Indian plantations and a glaring mismatch between cost of production and price realisation", he said, adding "labour related issues take up disproportionately large share of attention of the association."

The association has sought certain State amendments to the Plantation Labour Act,and as a related effort, the need for weeding out trade unions that exist only in name.

The association also appealed for exempting daily rated workers from the purview of professional tax liability, while seeking to raise the current taxable income limit of Rs 21,000 per half year for the purpose of profession tax.

Published on October 11, 2014
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