Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha employees recently received a pay hike after four decades

Siddaram K. Huve, supervisor at the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangha at Bengeri in Hubli, and his 105 colleagues are a happy lot this Gandhi Jayanti. The reason: they recently received a substantial pay hike after four decades.

However, workers in other certified khadi sanghas, numbering around 170 in Karnataka, and those involved in allied khadi activities are not as lucky. Though Chief Minister Siddaramaiah allocated Rs. 16 crore in the budget to provide incentives for those involved in khadi spinning and weaving, workers are yet to receive the incentives.

Reason for delay

The delay seems to because of a reported anomaly in the number of khadi sanghas in the State. According to veteran journalist Patil Puttappa, who is chairperson of the Advisory Committee for the Samyukta Sangha, the Karnataka State Khadi and Village Industries Board has given an exaggerated number by including even those khadi sanghas that are defunct.

Mr. Puttappa has written to the Chief Minister asking why the State was spending Rs. 12 crore annually on the maintenance of the khadi board, which has the sole function of distributing Rs. 4 crore to khadi sanghas and workers. “I have urged the Chief Minister to take steps so that the district administration can distribute the incentive to khadi workers,” Mr. Puttappa told The Hindu.

Elated

Meanwhile, workers of the sangha at Bengeri and 27 units linked to it are elated over the pay hike.

“Earlier, I was getting a salary of Rs. 9,500 and now I get Rs. 12,375. I have received a pay hike for the first time,” Mr. Huve said. The sangha has revived sections such as the regional dye house (RDH), detergent manufacturing unit, carpentry and fabrication units to give work to more people.

“We want to provide the workers better facilities. This would be possible if we ensure better production quality and sales. With the hike in salaries, the workers are also putting in their best,” chairperson of the sangha K.V. Pattar said.

The government had also announced a grant of Rs. 1 crore in the budget to the sangha to improve its infrastructure. “The action plan is almost ready and we will submit it to the khadi board within a week,” Mr. Pattar said.

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