Farm workers demand increase in wage under job scheme

Seeking a better deal: Members of the Karnataka Pranta Krishi Coolikarara Sangha staging a dharna in Gulbarga on Wednesday.

Seeking a better deal: Members of the Karnataka Pranta Krishi Coolikarara Sangha staging a dharna in Gulbarga on Wednesday.  

Special Correspondent

They are also seeking BPL cards, foodgrains at Rs. 2 a kg, houses

Sangha members begin indefinite dharna

Legislation sought for welfare of agricultural workers

GULBARGA: A large number of agricultural workers under the banner of Karnataka Pranta Krishi Coolikarara Sangha began their indefinite dharna on the Deputy Commissioner’s office premises here on Wednesday demanding, among other things, increase in wage under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme from Rs. 82 to Rs. 150 a day.

The protesters, including many women, came in a procession from Nehru Gunj locality to the Deputy Commissioner’s office led by president of the sangha Nityanandaswamy, who is also the State secretariat member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Initially the sangha had given a call for a 48-hour dharna in front of deputy commissioner’s office in all districts. However, later, it announced that the workers would launch an indefinite dharna.

The protesters are also demanding that BPL (below the poverty line) cards be distributed to families of all agricultural workers before January 30 and the card-holders be supplied rice, wheat and jowar at Rs. 2 a kg, as promised by the Government, and other essential commodities including sugar, edible oil and kerosene at subsidised rates. Besides increasing the minimum wage under the job scheme, the Government should relax certain rules and increase the minimum number of working days from 100 to at least 200 a year for a family. The sangha also demanded that the Government allot houses to houseless agricultural workers and regularise houses built by them on government land.

The Government should issue directions to the Department of Forests to not evict farmers from their land in forests. The Government should implement the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, to protect the rights of tribal people and those who had taken up agriculture inside forests.

The sangha also urged the Government to withdraw electricity meters installed in houses covered under the Bhagya Jyothi and Kutir Jyothi schemes and extend unlimited free power to these families.

They also wanted the State Government to bring in legislation for the welfare of agricultural workers on the lines of the Kerala Government.

District unit president of the sangah Bhimshetty Yempalli, secretary Davalsab Nadaf, joint secretary Ashok Myageri and vice-presidents Mahant Avaralli, Sudam Danni, Saibanna Kanakapur and Mallamma Kodli were among those who participated in the dharna.

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