Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde has slammed the government and accused it of cheating 8 lakh sugarcane labourers in the state and also insulting late BJP leader Gopinath Munde.
The NCP leader’s comments came a day after after The Indian Express reported that the state labour department now plans to bring in a scheme instead of welfare board for sugarcane labourers. Taking a U-turn, the labour department is planning to bring in a welfare scheme instead of welfare board for sugarcane labourers. The scheme is named after Gopinath Munde.
There are around 8 lakh cane labourers engaged in sugarcane cutting, harvesting and transportation in 168 cooperative and private sugar factories in the state, according to the department. “It is not only the cheating of the cane labourers but also an insult of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde. The government has cheated the communities like Marathas and Dhangar. Munde had helped the BJP in expanding its base and to get power in the state.
The cane labourers always supported Munde due to their affection for Munde. So, it is a betrayal of the cane labourers,” said Dhananjay Munde. Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council had raised the issue in the budget session of the state legislature and had questioned the government over delay in starting the operations of the welfare board.
In 2014, the state government had announced setting up a Sugarcane Labourers Welfare Board to be named after Gopinath Munde. The process for setting up the board was also initiated, said an official. A sub-committee of the legislative assembly had suggested making sugar factories the principal employer and cane labourers, a part of the factories. Besides, it was also proposed to collect levy from the sugar factories for the various welfare schemes for the cane labourers. Subsequently, the labour department decided to scrap the welfare board and bring in a welfare scheme. The cabinet gave its approval in December last year. It has now been proposed to offer benefits such as education, health, housing with others, officials said.