Thiruvananthapuram: When K.P. Lazar sits down to work, his deft hands produce a range of intricate designs in bamboo and reed. But, life is not exactly beautiful for this traditional artisan from Vellanad. It is, he says, a struggle for survival.
On Friday, on the sidelines of a workshop organised by the Kerala Institute of Labour and Employment (KILE), he voiced his and his co-workers concerns. �Bamboo and reed workers do not have minimum wages and the Kerala State Bamboo Corporation procures our products for a pittance. Even the supply of raw materials is erratic, he said. Bamboo and reed workers are not given proper wages and incentives, unlike their counterparts in other cottage and small-scale industries. �Collecting raw material from forests is itself an arduous task,� he said.
Earlier, inaugurating the workshop, Deputy Leader of the Opposition G. Karthikeyan exhorted the workers to be tuned to the market trends and diversify the product portfolio. K.B. Francis, representative of Bamboo Corporation said moves were on to set up community workshops and establish a factory to manufacture bamboo flooring tiles. Introduction of mechanisation and fixing minimum wages for the workers needed to be looked into, he said.