THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government is taking steps to resume the functioning of defunct cashew factories in the state by revitalising cashew plantations and importing cashew from other countries. This was stated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the Assembly on Monday in reply to an adjournment notice given by Mr Adoor Prakash (Congress) on the crisis in the cashew sector.
The chief minister said that the ESI Corporation would form a committee to look into the issues in the cashew sector and ensure that no cashew worker is denied treatment for lack of prescribed working days. The government had initiated talks with the ambassadors of many cashew producing countries and they had promised adequate supply of raw cashew, he said. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said that sales tax authorities were directed not to initiate revenue recovery measures against defunct cashew factories for the time being.
The Opposition, which asked the government to pay an interim relief of Rs. 10,000 to the workers of the defunct cashew factories, staged a walkout after permission was denied for the adjournment motion. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said that though the LDF had offered to take over defunct private cashew factories, nothing had been done. He also alleged that Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation and Kerala State Cashew Workers Apex Industrial Co-operative Society were spending money on luxury vehicles while the workers of the defunct cashew factories were starving.