Nuwara-Eliya estate in turmoil over workers demand for land
Police deployed outside threatened estate superintendent’s bungalow
Text and pic by Nalaka Ratnayaka, our Nuwara-Eliya corr.
Police, backed by the Special Task Force (STF) personnel, were deployed over the last weekend at Kandapola, Nuwara-Eliya after a group of estate workers, led by CWC lawmaker Marudapandi Rameshwaran, and Chairman of the Nuwara-Eliya Pradeshiya Sabha, T. Welu, allegedly threatened the Superintendent of Kandapola Park estate, Ajith Peiris, and his wife.
The Uda Pussallawa Plantation Company has been under pressure to release a part of the estate land for the construction of 306 housing units, under Indian-sponsored project. The company has offered uncultivated land for building 50 more houses in addition to those partially built structures, but workers demand 10 perches each.
MP Rameshwaran told The Island that the estate superintendent had disconnected the line when he tried to make inquiries about the issue. When a second call was made, someone had spoken to him, in a rude manner, the MP said, adding that he had not threatened anyone.
Welu also denied the allegation that he had issued threats. He said he had only expressed his views on the dispute.
The company said that a complaint would be lodged with the police.
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
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