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Seeking solution:Noon meal workers, who were prevented from proceeding to Chennai to stage a demonstration, being kept at a marriage hall in Kancheepuram on Monday.
Chennai: Police arrested over 10,000 noon meal workers across the State for staging protests demanding regularisation of service, hike in salary, pension and general provident fund.
In Chennai, nearly 2,000 noon meal workers, most of them women, were taken into custody as they staged protest in 18 places. Apart from trying to take out a rally to lay siege to the Secretariat, the workers held demonstrations in Chepauk, Marina Beach, MLAs Hostel, ECR among other places. On arresting the protestors, the police lodged them in various community halls in the city.
In Kancheepuram, tension prevailed for about 4 hours in the morning following a road-roko demonstration staged by noon meal staff from Coimbatore, Krishnagiri, Tiruchi and Virudhunagar districts, after they were prevented from proceeding to Chennai to take part in a demonstration in front of Fort St.George.
They tried to take State transport corporation buses but the police thwarted them. All the public transport vehicles plying towards Chennai on the arterial roads were intercepted by the police and screened for noon meal staff till noon.
Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said the agitation of the noon meal workers was instigated by a few associations as the DMK government has implemented various welfare measures over the years.
The foremost demand of the noon meal workers was to regularise the services of those working under consolidated pay for the past 27 years. As the striking workers themselves have said it was a 27-year old demand, he asked which governments, including that of Left governments in West Bengal or Kerala, have regularised the services of workers under consolidated pay.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary G. Ramakrishnan urged the government to negotiate with the striking noon meal workers to find a solution instead of prolonging it by resorting to frequent arrests.
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