KERALA

Double coir product output: Isaac

Staff Reporter

Call for improved marketing techniques and stronger domestic market



Says steps necessary to raise wages of workers

‘Large-scale mechanisation remained on paper’



ALAPPUZHA: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has called for doubling production at coir product manufacturing units in the State and strengthening the domestic market to enable further increases in wages of coir workers.

Inaugurating a meeting in connection with the State-level distribution of modernised motorised coir ratts and a coir spinning training programme at Cherthala, near here, on Saturday, Dr. Isaac said attempts to modernise the coir sector through large-scale mechanisation had remained on paper.

However, the State government’s current steps, by distributing 7,000 ratts to benefit 14,000 workers, would be a significant step in the efforts to uplift the coir sector.

Noting that further hikes in wages for coir workers was possible only if the production was doubled with a simultaneous improvisation of marketing techniques, particularly through strengthening of the domestic market, Dr. Isaac said the Planning Board had approved in principle the report of the Coir Commission for a revamp in the coir sector.

The government would spend Rs.150 crore over the next two years while implementing the report, he said.

More ratts

Coir Minister G. Sudhakaran, launching the distribution of the ratts, said the first phase of the programme would see 3,000 ratts being given by the Coirfed through the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) with help from the Union and the State governments, while another 4,000 ratts would be given by the Coir Workers Welfare Fund Board with help from the State government. By the time the programme was completed, 13,000 ratts would be distributed, benefiting 26,000 workers, mostly women, Mr. Sudhakaran said, listing out the various schemes and measures planned by the Coir Department to prop up the beleaguered coir sector.

V.S. Vijayaraghavan, Coir Board Chairman; Rani George, Secretary, Coir; Anathalavattam Anandan, Coir Commission Chairman; K.S. Manoj and C.S. Sujatha, MPs; G. Venugopal, Coir Corporation Chairman; S. Bahuleyan, Coirfed Chairman; K.R. Bhageerathan, Foam Mattings Chairman; and K. Madanan, Coir Development Director; were present.