V. Radhakrishnan, general secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)- affiliated Kerala Pradesh Headload and General Mazdoor Federation, has said mechanisation should not be allowed to come in the way of the livelihoods of headload workers in the State.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday in connection with the ninth State conference of the federation, which begins here on Saturday, he said the work and wages of the headload workers should be protected at all cost.

He said mechanised loading or unloading should be kept in abeyance if headload workers were prepared to do the job. It was their means of livelihood and it was wrong to deny them that under the guise of mechanisation.

When asked whether such a stand was tantamount to endorsing “nokkukooli,” Mr. Radhakrishnan evaded a clear answer and only said till the time the government came out with a clear picture on mechanised unloading, the right to unload goods should vest with the headload workers.

He said it was wrong to brand headload workers as anti-socials when they foght for their justified right to work. Headload workers would not insist on protecting that right if members mentioned in the ration card of any particular household themselves unloaded consignments meant for them. Otherwise, that work had to be handed over to the registered headload worker of that particular area.

He said the two-day conference would begin with a rally from Asramam Maidan on Saturday evening. The rally will culminate at the Press Club maidan for a public meeting, which will be inaugurated by S. Durai Raj, all-India secretary of the BMS. BMS State unit president M.P. Bhargavan would deliver the keynote address.

The delegate session on Sunday at the CSI Convention Centre will be inaugurated by M.P. Chandrasekharan, State unit general secretary of the BMS. CITU leader P.K. Gurudasan, MLA; S. Baladev, chairman of the Kerala Headload Workers Welfare Board; and INTUC State unit president K. Chandrasekharan, will speak.