The Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) and the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) announced major progress in their collective efforts to safeguard all residents of Sri Lanka’s estate community, with over 85% of the community across 7 regions having received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 63% being fully as at 10th September 2021.
Working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Provincial Health Authorities & PHDT, Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) have been able to fast track the rate of vaccinations for its estate workers and their families.
“With the number of COVID cases on the rise once again, ensuring the safety of our estate workers and their families is a priority for all RPCs. Vaccinations are being carried out systematically while continuous investments are being made to strengthen safety protocols. Our mission is to ensure that all our workers and the community at large, are fully vaccinated by end September 2021.” PA media spokesperson Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said.
“We are deeply grateful to the authorities for their vital assistance in this endeavor and we remain totally committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our employees.”
As of 10th of September, over 87% of those between the ages of 30-59 received their 1st doses, while over 58% received their 2nd doses thus far. Priority has also been given to those above 60 years, with over 92% having received their first jab and over 79% having received their 2nd jab in the estate sector.
The PA noted that the inoculation drive commenced from the Nuwara-Eliya district (Covering Hatton & Nuwara Eliya) since the largest community of estate workers reside in this area. Over 85% of 30-60 year olds having already received their first dose while over 54% received their 2nd dose. Meanwhile, over 89% of individuals from the other plantation districts belonging to the same age category received their 1st dose while 62% received their 2nd dose.
“The vaccination distribution is held under three phases with priority being given to frontline workers, secondly the factory workers inclusive of community leaders & thirdly, the staff and the wider community. We are pleased to note that we have reached the final half of the third phase. The rate at which vaccinations were conducted could not have been achieved without the assistance of relevant stakeholders.
“Prior to the vaccines being distributed, estate managers worked closely with MoH officials and PHIs in order to raise awareness about the vaccine, and alleviate all doubts. This drastically reduced any hesitancy which the community had towards vaccines, which in turn was instrumental to the successful rollout of vaccines among the estate community,” PHDT Director-General Lal Perera said.
“While we continue to keep up the momentum of the vaccine drive, COVID 19 awareness programmes and basic healthcare/welfare services continue to operate unhindered. Proactive measures like a regional help desks have been set up for the estate community throughout the pandemic. A COVID 19 steering committees with relevant stakeholders along with RPC coordinators have also been appointed to ensure guidelines meted out by the MOH are being adhered to across all factories.” Dr. Rajadurai concluded.
‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘
By Steve A. Morrell
Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.
Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.
“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.
“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.
“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.
“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.
“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.
“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”
Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses
Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.
In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.
As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.
Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka
Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.
“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.
Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.
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