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Sunday, 6 November 2005  
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Plantation votes secure for PM

by S. S. Warani

Former Parliamentarian and Ceylon Workers' Alliance General Secretary S. Sathasivam said at a press conference held in Colombo on Nov. 03, that plantation workers had decided to give an opportunity to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse at the forthcoming Presidential election.

When compared to the Opposition Leader's election promises, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse's Mahinda Chintanaya is people-oriented, Sathasivam said.

"The Ceylon Workers' Congress did not see the JVP as a communal force when it served in the Cabinet earlier.

Thus, the reason cited by the CWC for leaving the government is mere opportunism. Now the Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera too has joined the UNP. Is it not the UNP that embraced when Dhammaloka Thera who was a founder member of the Jathika Hela Urumya.

The CWC and its leaders are silent about it", Sathasivam continued.

He said during the voting in Parliament on the granting of citizenship to plantation workers, the JVP too supported and voted with the Government to pass the Act unanimously.

Sathasivam alleged that both the CWC and the Upcountry People's Front deceived the plantation community. `They are immatured not only in politics but also in the trade union sector.

Both Arumugan Thondaman and Chandrasekaran did not come from the base as such they did not know how to approach the plantation issues.

`If they were politically matured, they would not have signed an agreement with the Employers' Federation not to demand wage increase for plantation workers for two years.

They started the flat system of housing for the plantation workers and that was rejected by the people. Now they say, to support a single unit housing system.

When Medium and Small Scale Plantation Industries and Rural Human Resources Development Minister R. M. C. B. Ratnayake was Estate Infrastructure and Community Development Minister and

Dr. P. Ramanujam was the Ministry Secretary a plan was drawn to employ 3,000 unemployed youth on the instructions of the President.

However, it was shelved, and when Muthu Sivalingam took over the Ministry they called for new applications.'

`When efforts were made to appoint 3,000 teachers, the Vice President of the CWC went to Courts against this decision. Now both are in the same platform with the UNP.

This was a drama staged within the CWC to deny employment to plantation youth. Both Thondaman and Chandrasekeran attend international meetings on Tamil ethnic problem.

But they seem to have forgotten their duty to serve the plantation community. As far as the Ceylon Workers' Alliance, it supports a peaceful solution to the ethnic problem, but at the same time, it is first, committed to end the slavery of the estate population.

It was the SLFP governments that were in power that did much to the plantation workers. They include the EPF, ETF, nationalisation of estates, take-over of estate schools, appointment of Sports Officers and integrating estate dispensaries into national health system.

Sathasivam said that he was fully satisfied that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse would fulfil his pledges to the plantation community.

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