Prasanna Kumar, General Secretary of State unit of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), said on Tuesday that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had conveniently forgotten the Rs. 15,000 crore mines scam and had not taken any action on it. He was speaking at the district CITU workers’ convention, here.
Mr. Kumar said Mr. Siddaramaiah made a big issue of the mines scam when he was the Leader of the Opposition and had demanded a CBI probe into it. But once in power, he had forgotten it completely. “If the amount of Rs. 15,000 crore is made available, 35 kg of rice can be supplied to the poor people free of cost,” he said.
Almost all the political parties were speaking only for the rich and the powerful. They had little interest in the problems of the working class. He said there were 2.4 crore workers in the State. The concerns of such a large number of people could not be wished away.
The CITU had demanded that the State government provide at least Rs. 1,000 crore for the Labour Welfare Board during the last budget. Instead, the government had provided only Rs. 20 crore. All workers should be provided with a minimum salary of Rs. 10,000 per month. They should also be given a minimum pension of Rs. 1,000 per month after their retirement. “Should the government not take steps to provide minimum salary and minimum pension, we will launch a strong agitation against it,” he said.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had introduced the Food Security Bill in Parliament only with an eye for electoral gains. “The Congress has forgotten that politics is a means for serving people,” he said.
The State government should take immediate steps to provide sites to those not having them. 35 kg of rice at Re. 1 per kg should be given to all people irrespective of whether they lived below the poverty line or above the poverty line.
The CITU was opposed to the practice of Pankti Bheda, where meals were served separately to Brahmins and non-Brahmins at Sri Krishna Math/ Temple in Udupi, Mr. Kumar said.