Mr. Nishant R. Gurjer
Chairman of the KPA
Dear Members ,
I wish to circulate my Third News Letter. This is to further inform you about the events and development that have taken place on various fronts relating to the Association and the Plantation Industry since my Second News Letter of 8th April, 2013.
1) REVISION OF TARIFF OF MESCOM / CESC:
The KERC has passed orders revising the existing Tariff of MESCOM/CESC for the year 2013-14 on 6th May 2013 on the applications filed by MESCOM/CESC. The tariff of different categories was revised upward by 25 paise per unit. The KPA had filed objections and had also participated at the Public hearing held at Mysore/Mangalore.
A separate circular was sent to all Members on 9th May 2013 by e-mail and by post on 13th June, 2013.
2) WESTERN GHATS ENVIRONMENT EXPERT PANEL (WGEEP) REPORT:
The Kasturirangan High Level Working Group had submitted its report to the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) on 17th April 2013. The report is in two parts. It is also uploaded on MoEF website (http://www.envfor.nic.in).
The highlights of the report are:
1. The plantations and human settlements referred to as Cultural Landscape are excluded from Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).
2. Prohibition is recommended only to Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) called Natural landscape.
3. Necessary infrastructure development activities to be carefully scrutinized and assessed during clearing for cumulative impact.
4. All development projects, located within 10 km of ESA and requiring Environment Clearance (EC) to be regulated.
5. No thermal power projects allowed in ESA. Hydropower projects may be allowed subject to conditions.
6. Wind energy be brought under purview of assessment and clearance.
7. All 'Red' category industries strictly banned. Many activities like food and fruit processing in 'orange' category not completely prohibited.
8. Efforts be made to promote industries with low environmental impact. THE KARNATAKA PLANTERS' ASSOCIATION NEWS LETTER - 3Nishant R. Gurjer Chairman
9. Disallowing building and construction projects of 20,000 Sq. Mts. and above.
10. Townships and area development projects prohibited in ESA.
11. Other infrastructure and development projects/schemes subject to environment clearance.
12. Introduction of additional safe guards for forest diversion in ESA areas.
13. To promote sustainable tourism, strengthen existing regulatory provisions to assess environmental impact on tourism projects.
14. Tourism policy in ESA of the Western Ghats to provide local community ownership and benefits.
15. Eco-tourism to be as per MoEF guidelines involving local communities.
16. Tourism hotspots in the ESA should be monitored for environmental impact.
3) FORMATION OF SPORTS COMMITTEE:
As decided at the Special General Body Meeting of the KPA Sports Club and at the BGM of KPA both held on 8th March 2013, a Sports Committee was formed by the Executive Commmittee with a Convener and Members as below:
Mr. Baba P.S. Bedi
Mr. A.A. Ponappa
Mr. Shirish Vijayendra
Mr. Mahesh Shashidhar
Mr. M.N. Karthik
Mr. Sunil P. Rasquinha
Mr. Rohit Eswaran
Mr. Vinay Nagaraj
Mr. Peter Rodrigues
Mr. Nishant R. Gurjer
Mr. D. Govindappa Jayaram
4) COFFEE GROWERS ON RESEARCH COMMITTEE:
The leading Plantation Associations i.e., United Planters' Association of Southern India (UPASI), Karnataka Planters' Association (KPA), Karnataka Growers' Federation (KGF), Hassan District Planters' Association (HDPA) and Waynad Coffee Growers' Association (WCGA) had met on 22nd April, 2013 at KPA Office, Chikmagalur and subsequently on 9th and 31st May, 2013 in Bangalore and had decided to form a Joint Action Committee called "Coffee Growers for Research". This Joint Action Committee was necessary as the Research done by the Coffee Board was extremely inefficient and un-satisfactory.
The CCRI has so far not come out with any suitable remedy for White Stem Borer and also has not come out with any new high yielding clonal varieties in Arabica and Robusta.
Various Grower Associations have already submitted several Memorandums and letters to the Chairman, Coffee Board in this regard. However, no solution has forth come.
The Mechanization Committee, formed by the Coffee Board was also disbanded after 1 year. The Joint Action Committee was of the opinion that it should be reconstituted.
The Evaluation Committee for Coffee Research of which Mr. Bose Mandanna and Mr. H.B. Rajgopal were members, was constituted in April, 2011 unfortunately this Committee has not met even once.
Due to all the above reasons and lack of genuine research by the Coffee Board, the Joint Action Committee called Coffee Growers for Research Committee was formed.
Hence, the members of the above Committee have decided to form the Coffee Growers for Research Committee and submit a Joint Memorandum to the Chairman, Coffee Board to undertake satisfactory research and also to the Ministry of Commerce, New Delhi.
5) MECHANIZATION OF COFFEE ESTATE OPERATIONS AND RAINFALL INSURANCE SCHEME:
We thank the Coffee Board for having announced the modalities regarding implementation of "Support for Mechanization of Coffee Estate Operations" and "Rainfall Insurance" Schemes.
I am confident all growers will benefit immenesly from the above schemes.
6) 25TH ANNUAL SCAA EVENT AT BOSTON, USA.
I had attended the 25th Annual SCAA Event at Boston, USA from 11th to 14th April, 2013. During the event I had met 5 leading Indian Exporters from India including Mr. Jacob Mammen of Badra Estate & Inds. Ltd., Mr. Devaiah of Allana Sons Ltd., Mr.Raghu Nallamuthu, etc.
The Conference discussed the leaf rust crisis in Central America due to which 40% less production is anticipated for next year from this region.
There is a huge demand Indian washed robusta in the International Market.
7) MINIMUM WAGE NOTIFICATION:
The State Government has published a Notification dtd.14-05-2013 in the Gazette revising the Minimum Wages for Plantation Workers, Maistries /Supervisors and Non Staff employed in Rubber, Tea and Coffee Plantation payable w.e.f. 14-5-2013. The above wages are equated to 4624 points in the State Average Consumer Price Index Number (Basic 1960 = 100). The VDA notified is @ 4 paise per point over and above the 4624 points (451 points). The total wages payable to various categories of plantation employees from 14-05-2013 to 31-03-2014 as per it is as follows. A separate circular was sent to all Members on 5th June, 2013 in this regard.
|Sl. No.||Category||Basic Wage (Rs.)||V D A (Rs.)||T O T A L (Rs.)|
|03||Electrician / Mechanic||5,20000||541-20||5,74120|
|04||Heavy Vehicle Driver||4,940-00||541-20||5,481-20|
|05||Car & Tractor Drivers||4,680-00||541-20||5,221-20|
|06||Carpenter & Iron Smith||4,555-20||541-20||5,096-40|
|07||Tapal Man, Sweeper, Attender & Helper||4,420-00||541-20||4,961-20|
|11||Cashier, Stenographer, Computer Operator & Store Keeper||5,720-00||541-20||6,261-20|
|12||Typist, Data Entry Operator & Clerk||5,590-00||541-20||6,131-20|
|13||Office Boy, Peon, Watchman & Attender||4,420-00||541-20||4,961-20|
The Association has consulted its Advocate about the impact of the Notification and has taken legal course for challenging the Notifications.
8) KPA SUB-COMMITTEE MEETINGS:
The following meetings of the Sub Committee of the Association were held:
a) Scientific Committee Meeting was held on 12th May, 2013 at Coffee Day Square, Bangalore to discuss about the KPA Tour of Brazil & Colombia.
b) Negotiation Committee Meeting was held on 3rd June, 2013 at the KPA Office, Chikmagalur, to discuss about the Two Notifications on Minimum Wages for Plantation Workers.
c) KPA Sports Committee Meeting was held on 14th June 2013 to fix the Date and Venue of the Annual Sports Event.
9) UPASI MEETINGS:
a) A Labour Liaison Committee Meeting was held on 14th May, 2013 at Cochin. Mr. B.G. Kushalappa, IRO. had attended.
b) Industrial Tripartite Committee on Plantation Industry Meeting was held on 16th May, 2013 at Delhi. Mr. N. Bose Mandanna, E.C. Member had attended.
c) A Spices Committee Meeting was held on 27th May, 2013 at Cochin. KPA had sent its inputs for inclusion in UPASI's Proposals for the XII Plan of the Spices Board.
10) 38TH AREA TEA SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE:
The next Area Tea Scientific Conference is scheduled to be held at Glenlorna Estate of Tata Coffee Ltd., South Kodagu on 26th October 2013.
11) MEETING WITH THE CHAIRMAN, COFFEE BOARD ON 04-06-2013:
I and Vice-Chairman had met the Chairman, Coffee Board on 4th June, 2013 and discussed about the XII Plan Proposals, lack of Research & Development activities done by CCRI, Poor Quality of Chandragiri Seeds, Increase in White Stem Borer and other plantation issues. I also discussed the likely impact of the Dry Weather during the months of March and April on the forthcoming Coffee Harvest.
12) MEETING WITH THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, GOVT. OF KARNATAKA ON 06-06-2013:
I and Vice-Chairman had met Mr. Krishna Byregowda, Hon'ble Agriculture Minister, Government of Karnataka on 6th June, 2013 at Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore and congratulated him on assuming the office as Agriculture Minister and discussed with him various issues regarding the Plantation Industry.
13) MEETING WITH THE ADDITIONAL SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY ON 13TH JUNE, 2013:
I and the Vice-Chairman had met Mr. J.S. Deepak, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry on 13th June, 2013 in Bangalore along with the Coffee Board Chairman.
I submitted a detailed Memorandum regarding early implementation of XII Plan Proposals of the Coffee Board, Weather Problems for Coffee, Research Activities in Coffee, Marketing & Promotion Schemes of the Coffee Board and other Plantations Issues.
14) INTERACTIVE MEETING BETWEEN SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE AND COFFEE GROWERS ON 14-06-2013:
The Association had organized an Interactive Meeting with the Superintendent of Police, Chikmagalur on 14th June, 2013 at the KPA Office, Chikmagalur with the Coffee Growers regarding Security Precautions to be taken in the Estates to prevent crimes.
15) PRE-BUDGET MEMORANDUM 2013-14:
The new Government of Karnataka under the Leadership of Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri. Siddaramaiah had invited the Association for the Pre-Budget Meeting on 22nd June, 2013 at Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore.
The Vice-Chairman Mr. D. Govindappa Jayaram and the Convener of the Taxation Committee Mr. K. Kurian represented the Association and submitted the Pre-budget Memorandum.
The following points were included in the Memorandum.
I) Agricultural Income Tax:
a) To introduce Composition for Companies up to 1000 ha. with rates of Rs.2500/ha for coffee and Rs.1500/ha for tea.
b) To reduce the rate of tax from 35% to 20%.
c) To bring the depreciation rates in line with C.I.T. Rates.
d) To increase Replanting Allowance from Rs.900/MT, which was fixed in 1994 to Rs.7,600/MT for Arabica & 6,400/MT for Robusta.
e) To extend Carry Forward Loss from Six years to Eight years.
II) Value Added Tax
To exempt VAT on Fertilisers, Pesticides, Chemicals and Nutrients used in agriculture and plantations.
16) KPA TOUR OF BRAZIL AND COLOMBIA:
The 35 registered delegates for the KPA Tour of Brazil and Colombia left for Brazil on 28th / 29th of June and will return around the 15th of July after the completion of the Trip of Brazil and Colombia.
I propose to distribute a booklet containing all information about the KPA Tour of Brazil and Colombia to all members during the Annual Conference.
17) ANNUAL CONFERENCE:
The next KPA Annual Conference will most probably be held during the second week of November at our customary venue "The Atria Hotel" in Bangalore. I request Members to attend and make the Conference a grand success.
18) WEBSITE AND E-MAIL:
I again request all members to visit our Website http://www.kpa.org.in and browse through the same.
19) FEED BACK:
Please send your feed back or contact our office for any information and they will provide it to the best extent possible.
NISHANT R. GURJER
Chairman of the KPA
1st July 2013