Proposal to increase salaries awaiting approval, says Minister

Hundreds of food grain loaders, who have been toiling hard across the State to ensure that rice for the Anna Bhagya scheme reaches fair price shops, staged a protest here on Friday. Food grain loaders working at the Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation (KFCSC) godowns have been demanding increase in wages and social security benefits for several months now.

Irked by the unfulfilled promises made by the government, the workers marched from Bangalore city railway station to freedom park on Friday. They are currently being paid Rs. 6 per quintal for loading and unloading rice at godowns and fair price shops. On an average they are paid Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 6,000 a month after working for close to 13 hours a day.

Varadarajendra, State president of the Karnataka State Loading and Unloading Worker’s Federation said, “We do not have any job security or social security. We have been working hard to make the Anna Bhagya scheme a success, but the government has always turned a blind eye to our concerns.”

Mr. Varadarajendra said the government, which is the principal employer, must provide social security. Demanding equal pay for equal work, he said workers doing the same work at the Food Corporation of India get higher wages.

Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies, Dinesh Gundu Rao said the proposal to increase salaries was awaiting approval.

“The revision of salaries is expected to take place in a week or ten days,” he said. When asked if the government would provide social security benefits, he said a meeting would be convened with the members of the federation and officials of the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department to discuss their concerns.

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