'Coffee planters treat workers as bonded labourers'

'Coffee planters treat workers as bonded labourers'

A few coffee planters in the district are treating their plantation workers as bonded lobourers after lending loans to them, alleged Zilla Adivasi Hakkugala Samanvaya Samiti.

Samiti Secretary Y K Ganesh told mediapersons here, on Thursday, that the borrowers tend to repay loans regularly. But labourers who default on their repayment are forced to work as bonded labourers, he said.

“Many labourers are from tribal communities like Erava, Kuruba and Paniya, who live in line houses (quarters) in coffee plantations,” he said.

Ganesh said, “When the labourers are not in a condition to repay the loans, the coffee estate owners exploit them by drawing more work for lower wages. The district administration and the labour department should provide justice to such exploited labourers.”

There are also planters who provide good facilities to the plantation labourers. But some planters have been exploiting the labourers

“The planters are bound to pay minimum wages of Rs 324 per day as per the law. The planters, who own more than four acres of land, should provide all basic facilities to their labourers. But the regulations are flouted with impunity,” he charged. Samiti President Y A Ravi alleged that the plantation owners who provide loans to workers create fake ledgers and manipulate the figures.