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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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'State plantations doing well - reducing losses'

Responding to allegations by the Ceylon Planters' Society regarding the four government controlled plantations JEDB, Elkaduwa Plantations, Kurunegala Plantations and NLDB, Chairman, Elkaduwa Plantations Sanjeewa Leelaratne told the Sunday Observer that these plantations function well.

For instance, Elkaduwa Plantations has recorded a loss of Rs. 12 million, compared to Rs. 56 million in 2005. Minister of Plantations Milroy Fernando said that after he took over in 2005, he reduced the annual loss in the plantation sector. He said the plantation sector does not depend on funds from the Treasury.

The Minister said if the distribution of fertiliser has not been done properly they would not have been able to reduce the annual loss.

The Minister said when he took over the industry in 2005 there was a backlog in the payments of EPF, ETF and Gratuity. But these payments are now being made.

The Minister also said some Superintendents have got together and are trying to mislead the society by providing false information. He also said that salary revisions which were given in 2005 budget for superintendents will be paid shortly.

The Minister said that according to the circular issued by the Public Administration Ministry with regard to the age limit of retirement, a government servant can only serve up to 55 years.

The allegations were highlighted at a media conference on August 14 by the Ceylon Planters Society and the subjects brought up were mismanagement in the Elkaduwa Plantations, salary revisions for superintendents, EPF, ETF, Gratuity delays of the workers during the past few years, retirement age of the superintendents and lack of fertiliser.

The Minister said a conference will be held on Wednesday, August 22 to provide correct information in this regard.

 

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