Agitating plantation workers chase away legislator in Kerala

Munnar (Kerala), Sep 11 (IANS) Local legislator S. Rajendran of the Communist Party of India-Marxist was literally chased away on Friday by protesters, as an ongoing siege of Munnar town by more than 7,000 plantation workers entered the seventh day.

While Rajendran was taken out of the place by the police, a woman CPI legislator E.S. Bijimol from a neighbouring constituency was received by the protesting plantation workers. She said their demands were genuine and needed to be met.

“This is the seventh day that we are protesting in the streets and it’s only today that he (Rajendran) has come to meet us. That’s why we did not want to speak to him,” said a group of angry women labourers.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan extended his support to the striking workers and said he would visit them in the coming days.

“I lend my full support to these workers. If their demands are not met, I will lead their strike,” said Achuthanandan.

On the other hand, Kannan Devan Hills Plantations Company Private Limited (KDHP) is worried over damage to standing crop and consequent loss of several crores of rupees due to the ongoing strike.

In a release issued here on Friday, the KDHP management said a misinformation campaign was being carried out against the company by vested interests.

The KDHP said for the year ending on March 31, 2015, profits after taxes were Rs 5.02 crore as against Rs.15.55 crore in the previous year.

The labourers are demanding 20 per cent bonus and increase in their daily wages.

Meanwhile, a third round of talks called by the Kerala government between the company and trade union leaders would be held in Kochi on Sunday.

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