Porters' stir enters third day

Staff Correspondent

Bags of maize and cotton bales worth crores of rupees pile up at APMC yard

HAVERI: Thousands of bags of maize and cotton bales remained unattended to at the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yard here as the indefinite agitation of the porters entered the third day here on Wednesday.

The porters began their indefinite strike on Monday seeking revision of wages paid to them for loading and unloading bags of foodgrains and cotton bales.

Because of the protest 8,500 bales of cotton and 24,000 bags of maize are piled up at the APMC yard on Wednesday. The porters have even forced those employed for weighing the foodgrains to stop the work. Consequently the auctioning process at the market was severely affected.

Meanwhile, members of Communist parties have expressed solidarity with the protesters. A group of the office-bearers of the porters' association met Deputy Commissioner Amalan Biswas here on Wednesday to press for their demands.

The Deputy Commissioner assured them that he would start the process of revision of wages for porters and appealed to them to start the work, as the revision process would take time.

Although the porters seemed convinced of the officials' assurance, they later ecided not to call of their stir until the wages were revised.

According to a rough estimate, cotton bales worth Rs. 5 crore and maize worth Rs. 20 crore were at the APMC yard now. Following the protest, the APMC officials have taken precautionary measures to prevent any mishap. Fire extinguishers have been stationed at the APMC yard.

According to Assistant Director of Agricultural Marketing Manjunath, at least 45 days were required to complete the process of revision of wages but the implementation would be subject to approval from the Government. Efforts were on to convince the porters, he said.

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