Sugarcane cutter women demand separate identity cards for govt scheme benefits. With the commencement of the sugarcane crushing season on October 15, the need for separate registration of female sugarcane cutters is growing.
Sugarcane cutter women passed a resolution at a recent meeting in Kathoda, Beed, demanding separate identity cards and representation on the village sanitation and water supply committee. The meeting also agreed that they should be included on health committees in primary health centres and sub-centres.
Following the report in 2019 highlighting the plight of sugarcane cutter women, the State Government launched a slew of programmes to help them. One of the programmes is to keep track of migrant workers and issue them identification cards.
The late Gopinathrao Munde Sugarcane Workers Welfare Corporation was formed in Pune earlier this year. According to the State Government, identity cards for sugarcane cutters would allow them to participate in all government programmes.
Advantages of welfare programs
‘At the moment, men got identity cards as sugarcane cutters. The names of women are recorded, but only as relatives of the sugarcane cutter guy. We need our own identification so that we can be recognised as sugarcane cutter workers, said Dwarkati Waghmare, a sugarcane cutter from Kathoda.
According to activist Manisha Tokale, nearly 10 lakh sugarcane cutters work throughout the crushing season, with women accounting for half of all workers. Also Read | Crystal Crop Protection launched herbicide ‘Hola’ to control weeds in sugarcane.
‘Separate registration and identity cards for sugarcane cutter women would ensure that the welfare scheme’s benefits reach them directly.’Their identities as workers should not be linked to their husbands,’ she added.
When contractors sign a contract with sugarcane cutters, the contract treats husband and wife as one entity and pays the contract amount to the husband. Women have complained about the State Government’s registration procedure since it follows the same format.