“Estate workers to get welfare scheme benefits”

Staff Reporter

Says Chairman of Agricultural Workers’ Welfare Board

Special camps conducted in five blocks

Applications from 1,811 workers received

THENI: Farm workers in estates will be treated as farm labourers to enable them get all benefits available under the Farm Workers Social Security and Welfare Scheme, said K.P. Ramalingam, Chairman, Tamil Nadu Agricultural Workers’ Welfare Board.

Talking to press persons after presiding over a review meeting held at the Collectorate here on Monday, he said farm workers in cardamom, coffee and tea estates, mostly on hilly regions were eligible for the scheme. But they should not be members of any other welfare boards particularly Scheduled Tribe People Welfare Board and beneficiaries of ESI Scheme.

Approximately, four lakh workers were identified in the initial survey in the State of which over 10,000 were from Theni district. Estate workers were in large numbers in Nilgiris and Villupuram districts.

Even daily wage farm workers in Horticultural College and Research Institute in Periakulam could avail benefits under this scheme, said Dr. Ramalingam.

Asked whether NREGS workers would be included in the scheme, he said that farm labourers had been availing work under the NREGS only for 100 days. But they were working in agri-farms for the rest of the year. Hence they could also avail the scheme.

Steps would be taken to remove disparity in marriage assistance given to wards of farm labourers. At present, the assistance for men was Rs.3,000 and women Rs.5,000. Efforts were on to offer Rs.5,000 to both.

A total of 1.73 crore members in the State including a 5.92 lakh in Theni district had registered their names with the welfare board. A sum of Rs.386 crore had been disbursed to 4.76 lakh beneficiaries as on December 31, 2009.

In Theni district alone, 9,205 beneficiaries had received Rs.6.99 crore as on January 15, 2010, he added.

Collector P. Muthuveeran informed the chairman that special camps had been conducted in five blocks and applications from 1,811 farm workers had been received.

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