Estate workers once again left in the lurch – Digambaram


By Eunice Ruth

Deputy Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance MP, Palani Digambaram said upcountry plantation workers should be included in the list of low-income families that are to be given the Rs 5000 compensation in the upcoming festive season Speaking to Ceylon Today, he said recently, Cabinet approved giving Rs 5000 as an allowance to identified low-income families, for the upcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year. However, they have not included the upcountry workers who were forced to face many issues due to the rapid price increases and low wages.

“Earlier, it was pledged that plantation workers will be given 15 kg of wheat flour per month for a year on the basis of Rs 30 rupees per kg. However, it was given only in February and in March, they forgot us and now, with the new price of Rs 180, it is doubtful whether our people will receive it,” he added. 

He said the Government has permitted the increase of prices of many essential commodities without considering the situation of the people. Due to this, those who work for a daily wage were suffering and the Government has failed to identify them. This is why upcountry people are not included in the proposed allowance scheme, he said.  

 “During the Covid-19 pandemic, both the Government and private sector employees were advised to work from home and they got their monthly salaries as usual. However, people who are working for a daily wage such as the plantation workers were severely affected and they survived even without having proper food to eat. In addition, a Rs 5000 compensation was given to low-income families during the Covid-19 period. However, the upcountry folk were left outr. Even now, the Government has failed to include these people while giving the Rs 5000 concession. They have been ignored repeatedly,” he said.