Pulpally: The natives of Irulam in Wayanad alleged that the middlemen embezzle coffee beans at a low cost from the tribals, who pluck them here. The workers of the plantation under the Forest Development Corporation here are currently on strike against this.
The middlemen allegedly demand the tribals to start plucking coffee beans in the morning and hand them over in the evening, at a low cost. The middlemen later sell beans in the market at a high price making a massive profit. The raw coffee beans reportedly collected for Rs 10 to Rs 15 per kilogram from the tribals are presently sold at Rs 35.
The locals demanded immediate action from the police and the department of tribal affairs.
The plantation spreads over 230 hectares of land. The workers and tribals have been undertaking protests here, demanding wage hikes and other allowances.
A board has been installed in the plantation informing that this land has to be distributed among the tribals as per a Supreme Court order. However, no actions have proceeded yet.
“Only a few tribals are plucking coffee beans from the plantation for the middlemen. The officials have to keep a check on it,” said Chanthunni, a leader of the Kerala Adivasi Forum.