KOLLAM: The cashew sector, which has shown signs of recovery recently has again plunged to a low with private cashew managements as well as the Kerala Cashew Development Corporation finding it difficult to provide weekly wages to its workers due to the current demonetisation drive. The factories have slammed brakes on their operations and cashew nut sales have dipped in the last few days.
If the government does not roll-back its decision, then, the owners as well as workers, feel that the sector would come to a complete standstill within a few days.The sector has been providing daily jobs to around three lakhs workers and a majority of them are women. A factory needs at least about Rs 3 lakh on an average to pay up the wages of their workers every week.
"The biggest concern of the private management is the non-payment of salaries of workers with the curbs on withdrawals from the banks in place. After the scrapping of high-value notes, the owners of the factories do not have sufficient money with them to pay for these workers," said R K Bhoodesh, chairman, Federation of Indian Cashew Industries (FICI).
The demonetisation will have an impact on the functioning of the factories in the coming days. They will fail to meet the export demands, he added. The Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI) has written to the RBI to consider relaxing the restrictions on cash withdrawals for smooth operation and making payment of wages to the employees.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Cashew Development Corporation (KSDC) too has written letters to the Union government and the RBI demanding an urgent intervention and a resolution.
"It has become difficult for the corporation to provide weekly wages. We provide wages to our workers on every Friday and we need about Rs 80 lakh each week.The other week we were able to get only Rs 10 lakh and after writing a letter, an exemption of Rs 15 lakh was sanctioned the other day . However, in the coming week, the dues will amount to Rs 1.60 crore," said Jayamohan, chairman, KSCDC.