In absence of relief package,diamond workers threaten to boycott LS pollshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/in-absence-of-relief-package-diamond-workers-threaten-to-boycott-ls-polls/

In absence of relief package,diamond workers threaten to boycott LS polls

The meltdown-hit diamond industry workers have threatened to boycott the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in an attempt to press for suitable rehabilitation package.

The meltdown-hit diamond industry workers have threatened to boycott the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in an attempt to press for suitable rehabilitation package.

To discuss their future course of action,the workers have convened a meeting in Rajkot on Monday.

The meeting will be held at Vataliya Prajapati Hall on the Mavdi Road.

The jobless polishers rued that both the state and Central governments have turned a blind eye to their plight.

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With over 50 per cent units still closed and the rest functioning with half of its workforce,a few lakhs workers have been rendered jobless since October,when its shutters downed for the Diwali vacation.

“If the governments continue to neglect us,we will show our displeasure by boycotting the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls,” said one of the polishers.

Rajkot,the hub of nearly 3,000 polishing units,has witnessed mass public rallies and meetings organised by the diamond workers.

So far,these public programmes have been supported by political parties like the Maha Gujarat Janta Party (MGJP).

“There have been so many cases of suicide. Several lakh youths have been rendered jobless for a couple of months now. If the state and the Central governments do not help us during this hard time,where should we go? If ministers do not wish to act,workers will boycott the polls for sure,” said a polisher.

While the MGJP has been leading the agitation so far,BJP leaders have been seen throwing their weight around the agitating workers over their demand of a relief package. But unlike the MGJP,which wants the state government to act,BJP leaders are targeting the Centre.

BJP MP from Rajkot Dr Vallabh Kathiria has raised the demand to release Rs 50,000 crore for the aggrieved diamond workers.

Similarly,MLA V G Kakadia has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding a suitable relief package for the industry.

In his letter,Kakadia has mentioned that 12 lakh diamond workers accounted for Rs 86,000 crore foreign exchange in the last year.

When the industry is in a dire state following a slump in the international diamond market,the Central government must release a Rs 50,000-crore relief package for the workers.