Appachu Ranjan convenes meet today
N.A. Appaiah, president of the Kodagu Jilla Belgarara Sangha, said on Saturday that the sangha would stick to the wage of Rs. 130 a day to plantation workers as per the agreement.
Addressing presspersons here, he appealed to coffee growers not to pay higher wages to workers brought from outside the district by some agents.
Members of the sangha had been stopping the jeeps that brought workers at Madapur, Gargandur and Kumbur in Somwarpet taluk for the past three days.
He said Rs. 130 a day was higher than the minimum wage fixed by the Government which was Rs. 118.30.
An agreement was reached between jeep owners and drivers, who doubled up as agents, and the coffee growers at a meeting held in Sunticoppa some time ago, he said.
Vice-president of the sangha N.M. Dinesh said the workers demanded more than Rs. 130 at the behest of agents who received commission from both growers and workers.
The agitation launched by the sangha had spread to Gonicoppa, Srimangala and Napoklu areas in the district, he said. C.T. Satish, secretary of the sangha, said the sangha would volunteer to engage workers for a wage of Rs. 130 a day if growers appealed to it.
If they did not agree to it, the members would prevent workers from entering the plantations, he added.
President of the Kodagu District Vehicle (jeeps) Drivers and Owners' Association M.A. Usman appealed to the sangha not to stop the vehicles carrying workers to plantations.
Instead, the sangha should persuade the growers not to pay more than Rs. 130 as wage. The association was party to the agreement with the growers to pay Rs. 130 as wage.
The protest by the sangha at Madapur and other places had put the drivers and workers into difficulty as they were unable to earn their livelihood, Mr. Usman said.
M.P. Appachu Ranjan, Madikeri MLA, had agreed to resolve the issue on Sunday.
A meeting was scheduled to be held at 10.30 a.m. at Gargandur. He had appealed to plantation owners, workers, agents, jeep owners and drivers from Sunticoppa hobli to participate in the meeting, Mr. Usman said.