Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Ministerial Consultative Committee to discuss with President on activities of Private Sector estate companies

The Ministerial Consultative Committee on Plantation Industries decided to hold a discussing with President Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the activities of private sector estate companies.

This decision was taken at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Plantation Industries Chaired by Minister of Plantation Industries Ramesh Pathirana.

The Chair pointed out to the Members present that post leasing, the private sector plantation companies at present are showcasing more interest in other industries other than the plantation of tea, rubber etc, that they do not maintain the estates properly and are not interested in the welfare facilities of the employees. It was also discussed that the government does not have a proper mechanism to monitor the activities of such estate companies.

The Members brought the attention of the Committee that these big estate companies pay very little wages to the workers and even basic facilities are not provided in some estates. The Minister also stated that since these estates have been leased to the private sector under very weak lease agreements, it has become difficult to regulate the activities of these estate companies.

The Minister said that most of these companies do not develop infrastructure and it is observed that some companies, especially tea plantations, are far away from it. A large number of hectares under such companies have been identified as unused land without cultivation, he said.

The Minister said that he hopes to discuss the matter with the President and resolve the issues quickly. Meanwhile, the problems seen in plantation crops like coconut and the effects of pests were also discussed at the Committee meeting held. The Minister instructed the authorities to focus on resuming coconut cultivation in Matara district which had been stopped due to pest infestation.

State Minister Janaka Wakkumbura, MPs Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Dr. V. Radhakrishnan, M. Rameshwaran, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Udayakantha Gunathilaka were present at the occasion.

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