Minister for Revenue and Coir Adoor Prakash has flayed attempts to create an impression that there was a crisis in the coir sector.

In an official release issued here, the Minister said that the government had averted a crisis through various measures taken after discussions with all concerned. The present government had increased the pension to coir workers from Rs. 300 to Rs. 400, and paid it with arrears up to January 2012.

The minimum wages for coir workers was increased to Rs. 210 a day. In the case of workers of coir products, the minimum wage was raised to Rs. 285. Payment of wages through banks was mandated in the private sector to ensure payment of minimum wages.

The working capital grant for coir cooperatives was raised by Rs. 2.50 lakh and 393 defunct cooperatives were given working capital grants totalling Rs. 9.90 lakh to restart operations. Shortage of husk was averted through timely intervention of the government.

The State Coir Corporation was purchasing all coir products so that the sector would not run into a crisis for want of markets. The incentives for raw husk and dried husk were increased to improve procurement. Besides, Rs. 1 lakh was sanctioned to cooperatives as revolving fund for husk procurement and processing using mini-defibering mills.

The Minister said that the government accorded high priority to strengthening of the coir sector. Rs. 104.70 crore had been budgeted as plan funds for the current year for various projects including revival of coir cooperatives, creation of more job opportunities and procurement of coir products. Emphasis was being given to workers’ welfare, cluster development and formation of marketing consortium.

He added that the government had conceded 80 per cent of the demands of the trade unions in the sector and the remaining issues were being addressed.