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  • Tonnes of rotten cashew kernels destroyed

    Nov 7th, 2015

    Trade union protest against mechanisation has resulted in 12.5 tonnes of cashew kernels, valued at Rs.1.5 crore, turning unfit for human consumption at a factory in Maranad, near here. When trade union leaders prevented the owner from removing even the worm-eaten rotten kernels from the factory premises, the High Court intervened.

    The decaying kernels were removed and destroyed on Friday in the presence of a High Court-deputed commission led by Sabu George and assistant food safety commissioner K. Ajit Kumar. Many cashew factories in the district are mechanised but no jobs have been lost and there is no trade union opposition against them.

    But when some processing sectors of Swathy Cashew Factory owned by N. Sheela were mechanised, workers of the factory owing allegiance to a union began a sudden strike around five months ago. When the strike began, the factory had a stock of 12.5 tonnes of kernels. The workers prevented the owners from transporting the kernels for export. Though the owner had given an assurance that not a single worker would lose job, the trade union leaders were not prepared to withdraw the strike.

    The owner then moved the High Court and obtained an order for police protection to get the kernels out of the factory because the stock was highly perishable.

    When attempts were made to transfer the kernel stock with police protection it led to violence and police soon withdrew from the scene. Ms. Sheela alleged that the police were influenced by a union leader.

    Since the kernels were left in the open, the stock started rotting and got infested with worms, posing a threat to the raw nut stocks at the factory. Ms. Sheela again moved the High Court following which the Food Safety Commission inspected the factory and submitted a report to the High Court. It was on the basis of this report that the court sent the Commission to destroy the whole cashew kernel stock.