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Today Date : Wednesday, May 22, 2024

New officebearers elected for PAT

New officebearers elected for PAT

Mr. T.J. Varghese Vaidyan, Senior General Manager of Matheson Bosanquet Enterprises (P) Ltd., Nilgiris  District,  and Mr. Vinodhan Kandiah, Coffee Planter, Yercaud,   have been elected as the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman respectively of  The Planters’ Association of Tamil Nadu (PAT) for the year 2022-23, at the 69th Annual General Meeting of the Association held on 01.10.2022, at Coimbatore. 

New EC members:  C. Shreedharan, Asgar Hussain, Arun Kumar, P.B. Achaiah, Anil George Joseph, Sandeep Singh Sidhu, K.J. Mahesh Nair, B. Ambalatharasu, R. Rajkumar, Ranjit Kattapuram, K.S. Nanjappa, Murali Balan Padikkal, S. Ramachandran, Shaker Nagarajan, Joe Antony, T. Jayaram, Prashant  Bhansali and Anil Mathew CHAIRMAN's SPEECH: At the 69th anniversary of the PAT, PAT chairman Arunkumar said:  The Russia-Ukraine war situation and multi-fold increase in shipping rates have hit the export of horticultural produce. 

As tea production continues to increase worldwide, market prices are falling.  Wages and related expenses are 65% of production cost. So, we have requested the state government to set up an advisory committee to determine the wage rate of plantation workers in a proper manner. However, no positive action has been taken by the government.

It is a legitimate demand of the employers that wages should be fixed keeping in mind not only the welfare of the workers but also the future of the industry. In horticulture sector, the government should take appropriate legislative measures to change the current legal status that only certain crops should be cultivated and to start new arrangements like hill tourism for plantation companies. 

Only then can innovative employment opportunities be created and provided to the educated youth in the plantations. Such modern efforts will prevent the exodus of people from the area. Kerala, Assam and West Bengal have brought legislative amendments accordingly. 

Horticulture companies have been hit hard by shortage of chemical fertilizers like urea, MOP.  The agriculture department should take immediate steps to ensure that the horticulture crops located in the hilly areas, which generate tax revenue for the government, get the required fertilizer without any hindrance. 

In Valparai taluk of Coimbatore district, the plantation companies are wholly owned and controlled by the various holdings which are part of arable land. The position that pattas will not be granted to such lands is not acceptable.  The government should immediately take appropriate administrative measures to end the litigations that have arisen due to this.  The proceedings of the District Forest Committees under the leadership of District Collectors should be completed within due time.