The management of plantations obtains a special agent

To launch the activities of the Plantation Directorate to ensure effective intervention in the plantation sector, the government on Wednesday appointed Director of Industry and Commerce S. Harikishore as its special agent.

An official statement from the office of Industry Minister P. Rajeeve said steps would be taken to reopen all closed plantations in the state. Administrative measures would be taken to make the plantation sector, which has been recognized as an industry, profitable and create more employment opportunities.

Measures would also be taken to ensure fair prices and insurance coverage for cash crops. The wages of plantation workers would be reviewed at regular intervals in consultation with the Labor Department.

The scope of the newly constituted management would also include matters that had been approved in the plantation policy such as plantation tax, farm income tax, construction tax, seniority, renewal of leases, mixed cultures, etc.

The Department of Industries had previously issued an administrative penalty of ₹2 crore for formulating a policy on crop diversification in the sector. The latest plantation policy also included aspects of conservation and social forestry programs, as well as protection of employment as well as the sector as a whole.

Steps are also being taken to include the plantation sector in various local self-government programs to improve basic facilities for workers. Any benefits available to the general industrial sector would also be extended to the plantation sector.

A coordination committee made up of representatives from the government, various crop councils, trade unions and employers would be set up to oversee the expansion of the sector. Projects would be developed in conjunction with the Department of Forestry and Wildlife to ward off attacks by wild animals.

Options are also being explored to create agro-biodiversity parks in public sector plantations.

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