Beedi workers affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress staged a demonstration in Surathkal on Thursday demanding that their children be paid scholarship money.

Nearly 300 workers of the Beedi and Tobacco Labour Union, which is affiliated to the AITUC, marched from the Krishnapura Yuvaka Mandala to the Krishnapura Beedi Karmikara Chikitsalaya.

Addressing the gathering, president of the South Kanara Beedi Workers Federation P. Sanjeeva said that the procedure to apply for scholarship had been changed last year and after much confusion, beedi workers had managed to send the applications to Bangalore. Under the new procedure, the parents had to open bank accounts to receive the scholarship, but on going to the bank to check if the money had come, parents found that it had not yet been deposited to the accounts.

Mr. Sanjeeva said that the schools were also not informed of the number of children who had applied for scholarship.

Treasurer of the labour union M. Karunakar said during the time of admission, parents were usually told the number of students in a school who applied for scholarship. This instilled confidence in the parents that the scholarship would be accepted. Mr. Karunakar said the beedi workers who had applied for registration under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana in April and May had not yet received smart card that would enable them to avail benefits of the scheme.

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