Protests planned for early auctions
The crisis in the cardamom sector following a boycott of auction centres by traders from September 25 is likely to affect the labour sector too, as the planters are unable to clear the weekly wages (workers are paid on Saturday) owing to stockpiling of produce.
Mathew George, a medium-level planter, told The Hindu on Sunday that though prices had not fallen in the open market, there was no way of knowing the exact prices in the absence of auctions.
Farmers were either forced to sell the produce at a price decided by the agents of the traders or hold back the stock. The first fallout of this was a cut in labour costs and other expenses.
M.B. Surendran Pillai, general secretary of the Udumbanchola Estate Workers Union, said the stockpiling of the produce would have an impact on the labour sector. So far, no major labour cuts or delayed payments had been noticed, but if the strike continued for an indefinite period, the situation would undergo a change.
Hike in bidding rate
He said a union meeting had decided to launch a stir from October 22 to press for a solution to the crisis caused a circular issued by the Spices Board to the traders raising the bidding rate from 50 paise to Rs.5 and reducing the payment period from 21 days to 12 days.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Karshaka Sanghom and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions have decided to stage a five-day dharna in front of the Spices Park at Puttady from Monday. Kerala Karshaka Sanghom State executive member M.M. Mani and CITU district unit secretary K.S. Mohanan said the strike would be intensified if a solution to the crisis was not found soon.
Mr. Mani said thousands of workers from Tamil Nadu worked in the cardamom plantations on daily wages. Their livelihood would be affected in addition to that of the permanent workers on the estates.
The Kerala Congress (M) will take out a rally to the Spices Park at Puttady on Wednesday demanding immediate steps to restart the auction process, a release here said.
Meanwhile, the Spices Board has convened separate meetings of cardamom growers, traders, and representatives of workers on Monday to find a solution to the crisis. Cardamom Growers Association president K.S. Mathew said he hoped for an amicable solution that protected the interests of the farmers.
Traders have boycotted auction centres from September 25 Spices Board convenes meetings on Monday
Traders have boycotted auction centres from September 25
Spices Board convenes meetings on Monday