Icy sweat shops

A STUDY conducted by Shobhana Warrier, a professor at the Jamia Millia Isalmia, Delhi, notes that the workers in fish processing units are often made to work under pathetic conditions and live in dilapidated, dingy, humid sheds under unhygenic conditions. As a result, they suffer from various ailments. The workers, mostly women, belong to Kerela and are employed on a contract basis. The study also stated that the fish processed at the centre gets contaminated due to the unhygenic conditions, posing health hazards to the consumers.

In 1997-98, processed fish earned the country us $1280.81 million in exports. But threats of a trade ban still looms large due to the country's disregard to labour laws, the quality of fish and scant attention paid to the working conditions in the fish processing industry. The study was sponsored by the Centre for Education and Communication, a New Delhi based non-governmental organisation.