KERALA

Government `treat' to workers for Onam

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Sept. 6. Within its financial constraints, the Government seems to be making an all-out effort to make this Onam memorable for the people.

The Government has disbursed around Rs. 38.62 crores as relief to workers of various sectors through the Labour Department alone.

The beneficiaries include 8,734 workers of 46 factories which remain closed. A sum of Rs 87.34 lakhs was distributed to them at the rate of Rs. 1,000 per worker.

The 11,989 workers of the 32 estates which remain closed were given an assistance of Rs. 500 each. It cost the exchequer Rs 59.94 lakhs. They are also being given free rations.

The assistance given to workers of the private cashew factories which have remained closed for the last one year is Rs. 200 per worker. It benefited 14,915 workers of 48 factories in the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta. The total expenditure came to Rs. 29.83 lakhs.

The Government also sanctioned a sum of Rs 19.88 crores to the local bodies for distribution of three months' pension for the period from February 1 to April 30, 2002 to 52 lakh agricultural workers.

The workers of coir factories in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha districts which remain closed have been given Rs. 200 each. It is expected to benefit 10,422 workers of 180 institutions. The amount involved is Rs 10.20 lakhs.

Meanwhile, the Onam markets of the Civil Supplies Corporation are doing brisk business. The Food and Civil Supplies MInister, G. Karthikeyan, said that the turnover till yesterday came to Rs 2.5 crores. With two more days left, the sales this year was expected to be 15 per cent more than the previous year.

The Thiruvananthapuram Metro Onam fair headed the list with a turnover exceeding Rs 40 lakhs. The Kollam Metro fair achieved a record of sorts by accounting turning in over Rs. 25 lakhs. The total sales of the five metro fairs was expected to reach the Rs. 5 crore mark in the next two days.

In addition to essential commodities including rice, these metro markets also sell banana and vegetables.

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