Chathannoor (Kollam): Not many Malayali labourers are ready to climb coconut trees these days. The owners of coconut plantation are having a tough time to find coconut climbers. But in a latest development, labourers from Chhattisgarh are seen coming forward to take up the job of coconut climbing. Now, most of the coconut climbers in Kerala and Lakshadweep Islands are from Chhattisgarh.
Rs 40 is paid for climbing one coconut tree to clean the top portions of it and to apply pesticides. A labourer climbs more than 50 trees a day and earns over Rs 2000 as wage. They take only a few minutes to climb coconut trees using the climbing machine and to clean up the tree.
The implementation of ‘Keragramam’ scheme in the state by the agriculture department turned out to be helpful for the migrant labourers. The workers from Chhattisgarh are climbing trees as part of the scheme.
The Chhattisgarh native workers of the Pathanamthitta-based firm ‘Cochin Agricultural’ are posing a challenge to the reluctant Malayali labourers. The labourers hail from Pendra Road village in Bilaspur of Chhattisgarh. They reached Kerala for other jobs, but ended up in the Coconut Research Centre at Kayamkulam.
The migrant labourers joined ‘Cochin Agricultural’ after completing training in automatic coconut climbing with the help of Coconut Development Board, said management representative Vikraman N. T. The firm has been functioning in agricultural sector for the past 17 years.
Forty labourers of the team have been working with the company for four years. They are assigned to climb trees as part of the contract works under agriculture department. They pluck coconuts and do all other jobs related to it. They are also sent for works in Lakshadweep Islands. The team works under the leadership of Hareesh, Hari Om, Om Prakash and Ajith.