By admin       2017-10-04

Wages for picking cotton have become a bone of contention between farmers and farm labourers in Mansa district. Some of the farmers have put up a banner at Mansa railway station declaring the wages for picking cotton at Rs 570 per quintal. They have also decided to impose a fine of Rs 10,000 on those paying the labourers more than that.Labourers, on the other hand, have taken a strong note of the move by the farmers and have decided to approach the deputy commissioner against it. They are demanding Rs 650 per quintal for picking cotton.Rates of raw crop are low at Rs 4,200 per quintal. We were expecting it to be well over Rs 5,000 per quintal. In such a scenario, we have decided not to give more than Rs 570 per quintal as picking charges to the labourers. Those coming from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand are demanding more and that is not acceptable to us," said farmer Angrej Singh of Mansa. Another farmer Jasbir Singh said even after paying Rs 570 per quintal, they would not able to save much from the harvest. "If we had got reasonable prices for crop, we would have offered more money to the labourers," he added. Recommended By Colombia Labour outfit Mazdoor Mukti Morcha general secretary Bhagwant Samao said fixing the rate at Rs 570 per quintal was condemnable and discriminatory. "Fixing price and imposing fines is like giving a call for boycott for labourers. We will not tolerate it. We plan on approaching the DC on Wednesday and request him take appropriate action in the matter," he said.Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union general secretary Lachhman Singh Sewewala said, "Mainly women go for picking cotton and even involve children in the process. They don't even get Rs 200 per day if rates are fixed at Rs 570 per quintal. As a person picks normally 30-35kg in a day, the earning would remain in the range of Rs 150-175 per day. No one has given any right to the farmers to fix the wages in such a way. It should be through mutual understanding."Farmer organisation Punjab Kisan Union president Ruldu Singh Mansa said they condemned the decision to fix picking rates at Rs 570 per quintal and would look into that.Mansa DC Dharampal Gupta said, "The administration is looking into the matter of putting up banner stating the wages. Action would be taken against those found guilty."

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