Outlook: New Delhi: Tuesday, August 12, 2014.
A BJP Lok Sabha member from Gujarat today said salt workers in the state are working under harsh and difficult conditions affecting their health, leading to cheers from opposition members who said he was speaking the truth.
Asking a supplementary during Question Hour, BJP member Devajibhai G Fatepara said salt workers in Gujarat are working under "inhuman and pathetic condition" and wanted to know Central government's plan for their welfare.
At this, Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) and Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy and a few other opposition members cheered Fatepara saying the BJP MP was speaking the truth and there should be a proper reply from the government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat till May, was not present in the House at that time.
Labour Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said government was aware that salt workers in various parts of the country work under harsh and difficult conditions and salt workers face challenges of poor connectivity, severe climatic conditions and unhealthy working conditions.
Tomar said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, through the Salt Commissioner's Organisation (SCO) monitors overall development of salt industry. This includes planning, facilitating technology upgradation of salt production process and conducting training programmes for salt workers.
SCO is supplementing efforts of the state governments in improving some facilities that include construction of rooms, jetty, labour rest sheds, protective bands and roads to salt workers, supply of safety kits and bicycles, capacity building for transporting and storage of potable water and laying pipelines for supply of drinking water, he said.
Tomar said some state governments are implementing welfare schemes especially for salt workers and Rajasthan government is granting financial assistance for registration and issuance of identity cards, insurance scheme, providing gum boots, goggles and bicycles to salt workers.
"Government of Gujarat is implementing scheme for development of salt works and welfare of salt workers under which approach roads to salt works, jetty for export of salt, rest sheds, protective kits, medical van, mobile ration van, supply of drinking water by pipelines and tankers, balwadi and anganwadi for salt workers, room for schools, computers, school uniforms, educational kits, scholarships for higher studies etc are provided," he said.
He also said government has no plan to shift the office of Salt Commissioner from Jaipur to Gujarat.