Salt workers in parts of Thoothukudi have urged the State government to provide assistance during rainy season when they become jobless.
The agitating workers raised slogans demanding the government to provide such assistance during this northeast monsoon season also. Muthuvel, a worker, who took part in the agitation, said normally Thoothukudi would receive heavy rainfall during the northeast monsoon season, which begins in the middle of October and ends in December, annually. The workers cannot eke out a living during this rainy season.
M. Krishnamurthy, district coordinator, Unorganised Workers Federation, who led the dharna, said the workforce had been solely relying on salt pans, which remained waterlogged, forcing them to keep off the pans during these rainy days.
Since these workers have no other alternative jobs apart from salt pans, the current situation is threatening their livelihoods. As they could not earn their livelihoods, they had been experiencing many difficulties.
Further, he said the AIADMK-led State government, during its campaign ahead of the Assembly election in 2016, had promised to provide ‘rain period assistance’ for the salt workers. A sum of Rs 5,000 was announced as rain period relief. But years have gone by after it came to power, and the government is yet to deliver on that promise.
Moreover, he also demanded the government to set up a separate welfare board for the salt workers. If the government failed to respond to the salt workers demand, widespread protest would be lodged against the government, he added.