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Sunday, 3 October 2010

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Plantations in line to achieve goals

Measures have been initiated under the Mahinda Chinthana, its updated version and the Gamidiriya program for poverty alleviation among the plantation community, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and President of the Ceylon Workers Congress Muthu Sivalingam told the Sunday Observer.

Programs for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are also being implemented, he said.

He said this in reference to certain news reports that there have been no noticeable improvements in the living standards and poverty levels of the plantation workers under the MDG program.

The Deputy Minister expressed optimism that the MDGs in the plantation sector could be achieved by 2015 although there have been drawbacks due to various unforeseen factors.The community has now emerged from the 'below poverty line', according to recent surveys.

Under the 10-year National Action Plan that is now being implemented, other development programs and enhanced livelihood facilities that are being provided, the conditions and standard of living of the community would improve in the future, he said.

In addition to development aspirations, the MDG program also encompasses universally accepted human values and rights such as freedom from hunger, the right to basic education, the right to health and responsibility to the future generation.

These are being properly addressed in the plantation sector by the Government, the Deputy Minister said.

Roads to a length of 8,500 km are being cemented and will be completed in the next five years.

Under the housing project, the construction of 25,000 independent and twin houses is nearing completion with more houses to be constructed in the future, he said.

Work is being offered in estates on a maximum number of days.

As part of an effort to fulfil the MDGs, vocational training in various trades is being provided to about one thousand educated plantation youth every year at the Hatton Vocational Training Institute. IT training is being provided to about 10,000 youth at the 50 Prajashakthi Centres located in different parts of the plantations, Sivalingam said.

 

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