The unabated forced unemployment faced by Ratna Kalakars or diamond workers in the state,due to the economic meltdown,has prompted the state committee of the CPM to start a state-level campaign to focus on the prevailing crisis.
Arun Mehta,CPM state secretary,said the campaign,which was launched in December at the district and taluka levels,culminated with district jathas from 14 districts for a public demonstration in Ahmedabad recently.
Our main demand is an unemployment relief package for the workers,electricity bill moratorium for diamond industries for at least one year,school fee waiver for children and issuance of BPL cards to all workers who are rendered jobless, he said.
Stressing on the conditions of the workers,Mehta said: The diamond industry is deprived of even the minimum labour rights; the terminal benefits like provident fund,gratuity,day-to-day privileges like weekly offs,over time allowance,casual leave,sanitary benefits and above all protective equipment like goggles,binoculars. Due to all this,innumerable diamond workers suffer from Tuberculosis and various eye diseases. The meltdown has added to their misery,as so far 33 diamond workers have committed suicide. It is shocking, he added.
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