KOLLAM: Over 35,000 workers with the private cashew factories that remain shut for nearly two years in the state will heave a sigh of relief with the government implementing free health insurance scheme in association with Comprehensive Health Insurance Agency of Kerala (CHIAK). The workers with around 290 factories remain jobless with the stand taken by the private owners who cite operational loss after the enactment of minimum wages to the workers.
The state-level inauguration of the programme will be conducted by Minister for employment T.P. Ramakrishnan in a function presided over by cashew minister J. Mercykkutty Amma on Thursday at the Cashew Corporation factory in Kottiyam. The proposal to provide free medical insurance to these workers was put forward by the cashew workers welfare board, which has not got nod from the government.
“The insurance programme implemented in association with the health insurance agency CHIAK will be a relief to thousands of jobless cashew workers. The Government had in Onam season distributed Rs. 2000 each along with 10kg rice to these destitute workers. The workers can join in the scheme through Akshaya centers after procuring certificates distributed by welfare board inspectors,” said Murali Madanthakode, board chairman. The workers without ESI benefits have been included under the scheme.