Coir workers’ pension to be hiked to Rs.200

Staff Reporter

Plan for home delivery of pensions

Isaac says tax evasion will be dealt with sternly

Work on bypasses in Alappuzha, Kollam, Thalassery soon

ALAPPUZHA: The State government is planning home delivery of pensions to retired coir workers apart from hiking their existing monthly pension of Rs.110 to Rs.200, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said.

Speaking after the State-level inauguration of the Kerala Coir Workers Welfare Fund Board’s disbursal of pension for coir workers at Pathirapally near here on Sunday, Mr. Isaac said individual accounts would be opened for each of the workers for the government to deposit the pensions while Kudumbasree volunteers would handle the task of delivering the pension at their doorsteps every month.

The Left Democratic Front government had disbursed pension arrears in various sectors worth Rs.686 crore this year and was committed to improving the living conditions of the public by ensuring proper taxation and tax collection. Anyone evading tax payments would be dealt with sternly. Condemning the recent incident in Alappuzha when Sales Tax officials were obstructed from doing their duty by traders, the Minister said tax payment details of all traders were being verified. Anyone found guilty of malpractice would be asked to shut shop.

Focus on tax collection

The government was able to given pensions without arrears because of its increased focus on tax collection. Funds would be mopped up in this way to complete pending infrastructure development as well. Work on three delayed bypasses in Alappuzha, Kollam and Thalassery would begin this year apart from work on rail over bridges, fishing harbours and roads in the same manner, he said.

Arrears cleared

Coir Minister G. Sudhakaran said the government had cleared pension arrears of 32 months, pension and welfare benefit arrears of retired coir workers and educational benefit arrears in the sector that were kept pending by the previous United Democratic Front government. The total amount disbursed thus was over Rs.25 crore in the coir sector alone.

Urging coir cooperative societies to raise their standards, he said the government would give grants only to societies that were functioning in a beneficial manner to the public. Blaming officials for the “wayward functioning” of several coir cooperative societies, Mr. Sudhakaran called upon small-scale coir manufacturing units to form cooperative societies.

The disbursal inaugurated on Sunday would be from a fund totalling Rs.5.82 crore and benefiting over 55,000 coir sector workers.

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