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  • Kerala cashew sector to get comprehensive revival plan, says Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan 12/20/2023

    Dec 20th, 2023

    Highlighting the steps taken by the Kerala Government to support the crisis-hit cashew industry, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in Kollam on December 19 (Tuesday) that a comprehensive revival plan will be implemented in the sector. “Our cashew sector has come out of a phase where factories had downed their shutters, leaving the workers in distress. In 2015-16, cashew factories were open only for 56 days. The LDF Government could fulfil its promise of opening the factories after it came into power. An expert committee is currently studying the sector and a revival plan will be implemented after the report is submitted,” said Mr. Vijayan. The Kerala Government had recently renovated all factories under the Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation (KSCDC), introducing modern and employee-friendly amenities, he said. “Measures were taken to renovate and modernise the infrastructure of factories. Cutting machines were installed as part of partial mechanisation. Dining hall, dressing room, reading room, toilet blocks with incinerators, turbo fans, CCTV surveillance cameras, hydraulic pallet trucks, thermal system for temperature regulation of sheds and creches were ensured in factories,” he said. Import of raw cashew nuts Mr. Vijayan said that Kerala Cashew Board has imported 63,061 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts (RCN) since 2017 by spending ₹639.42 crore. “Along with this, an additional ₹25 crore has been sanctioned for importing 5,000 metric tonnes of RCN. By the end of this financial year, a total of ₹175 crore will be spent to import 17,000 metric tonnes of RCN and this is the largest annual procurement since the formation of the cashew board. Steps have also been taken to import 30,000 metric tonnes of RCN in the coming years,” he said. He pointed out that the State Government disbursed five years of gratuity arrears prior to 2016 by spending ₹84 crore. “Last year, the retired workers were given gratuity on their retirement itself. It was for the first time in the history of the KSCDC that gratuity was disbursed at the time of retirement. In 2023, the government cleared the previous PF arrears of ₹10 crore,” he said. Aid to private processors Mr. Vijayan said that arrangements have been made to help private processors in repaying loans after conducting multiple meetings with banks, processors and trade unions. “A total of ₹37 crore has been sanctioned for the revival of the cashew industry. Out of this, ₹20 crore will be used for ESI, PF and other welfare activities for workers, including those in the private sector, while ₹5 crore will be spenton making the workplace women-friendly. A sum of ₹5 crore has been set aside for the renovation of shelling units,” he added.