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Dangling the carrot before puffed rice producers

Special Correspondent

Funds for equipment and sheds if they desist from child labour


Government to form a new layout on the outskirts of town

Use of gas or electricity-based equipment a must


— Photo: M. Govarthan

Bringing in change: The Government is offering incentives to puffed rice manufacturers in the State to eradicate unhealthy practices.

Bangalore: The manufacturers of puffed rice located at Davangere will be provided with financial assistance to purchase the latest equipment and a new industrial layout will be carved out for them in return for them agreeing to abide by the condition to desist from engaging child labour.

The manufacture of puffed rice in Karnataka, like elsewhere in the country, is a cottage industry and the technology adopted in the production of puffed rice is obsolete.

Producers

There are nearly 750 families engaged in puffed rice production in Karnataka and all of them are based in Davangere. Most of the producers are Muslims. Kolar is the only other location where puffed rice is produced in the State, although the manufacturers in Davangere far outnumber them.

Briefing presspersons here on Thursday after a meeting with the representatives of the puffed rice manufacturers, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar said the Government had decided to form a new layout on the outskirts of Davangere town to shift all the manufacturers to one location. They would be provided with adequate funds to purchase latest equipment and industrial sheds. The Government has categorically told them they should use gas or electricity-based equipment to prevent pollution. In their present location, the manufacturers use rubber tyres as fuel to heat rice in the production process.

Mr. Suresh Kumar, during a recent tour of Davangere, witnessed the poor living conditions of the puffed rice manufacturers and their use of child labour. He enlisted the support of the Davangere legislator, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, and the Minister for Minority Welfare, Mumtaz Ali Khan. While Mr. Shivashankarappa succeeded in bringing together all the puffed rice producers of Davangere, Mr. Mumtaz Ali Khan held discussions with the State Minorities Development Corporation and the National Minority Development Corporation to provide the requisite financial assistance to the manufacturers.

Directed

The Davangere Municipal Corporation has been directed to form the new layout and all the manufacturers will be given a site and funds for constructing a shed. At present, nearly 2,000 children are employed in the puffed rice manufacturing industry at Davangere.

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