Salt manufacturers are happy with efforts of Salt Department authorities, who had been extending a series of welfare measures to the labourers working in salt pans and their children as well. With adequate workforce, Tuticorin, a coastal district, has witnessed huge salt production in Tamil Nadu, the largest salt producing state in India.

M.S.P. Thenraj, Thanpaadu Uppu Viyabarigal and Yaetrumathiyalargal Sangam, President, Tuticorin on Friday hailed the initiative of the officials for having extended educational assistance for children of saltpan workers here. As many as 109 students of classes from standard VI to XII received the assistance under Children Reward Scheme – 2011-12 of the Salt Department on Thursday.

Chief Educational Officer G.J. Ramachandran extended the rewards to the students. Forty nine boys and 60 girl students from various schools in Tuticorin received the assistance to the tune of Rs. 1,48, 500. In the whole of Tamil Nadu, a total of 603 students were provided with the assistance of Rs. 7.93 lakh.

A. Kirubaharan, Secretary, Salt Manufacturers and Merchant Association, also welcomed the move. A.R.A.S. Dhanabalan, Secretary, Tuticorin Small Scale Salt Manufacturers’ Association, said it was encouraging that the Salt Department had extended a helping hand by organising general medical cum eye camps for the workers over the past two years and sports meet was also conducted. V.V. Laxmi, Assistant Salt Commissioner, Salt Department, Tuticorin, said a proposal for extending the assistance under Children Reward Scheme for additional beneficiaries had been forwarded to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. As many as 3, 500 students across India had benefitted from the scheme in 2011-12 and for the next academic year the proposal was made for 5, 200 students, she said.

A reward of Rs. 1,000 for each student of standards VI, VII and VIII and Rs. 1,500 for students of standards IX and X was given. As for Plus One and Plus Two students, a reward of Rs.2, 000 was extended to each of the students, she added.