482 noon meal workers arrested

Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Police on Thursday detained 482 members of Tamil Nadu Nutritious Noon Meal Employees’ Association, including 192 men and five children, as they blocked traffic at Tirunelveli Junction on Wednesday to highlight their “long-pending demands”.

Tamil Nadu Nutritious Noon Meal Employees’ Association had announced that members of their organisation would block traffic in all district headquarters for three days from May 7 pressing various demands.

Some of the important demands are fixation of time-scale pay for noon meal employees, monthly pension, appointment of qualified noon meal workers in the vacancies existing in other Government departments etc.

“Genuine demands”

The State Government, “which waived crop loans, now distributing freebies including colour television sets and gas stoves with gas cylinders and giving one kg rice for Rs.2 in ration shops”, cannot cite paucity of funds as a reason for not fulfilling the “genuine demands.”

When the protestors were kept in a private hall after the arrest, some of them refused to take their lunch, saying that the police failed to provide food to all detainees. However, they relented after the Tirunelveli Revenue Divisional Officer, G. Rajendran pacified them.

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