Development agenda should continue - Sivalingam
The Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC), the political party that had
represented the upcountry plantation community intends contesting one of
its most strategic electoral districts -the multi-member Nuwara Eliya
District -on the UPFA ticket.
The CWC is fielding both party leader Arumugan Thondaman and party
president Muthu Sivalingam in the district that had always been the
field of the toughest electoral battles among all trade-union-based
political parties of the plantation community.
The CWC has already started its vigorous campaign in Nuwara Eliya.
The party will also contest in three electoral districts -Kandy,
Badulla and Kegalle - electorates with considerable concentrations of
the Indian origin plantation community on its 'cockerel' symbol while
contesting also two other electoral districts -Matale and Colombo - on
the UPFA ticket.
The CWC has entered into an understanding with the UPFA mainly on the
continuation of the many development projects that were launched by the
UPFA government during its 10- year tenure under the former President
Mahinda Rajapaksa , CWC President Muthu Sivalingam told the Sunday
There are many issues that the CWC intends addressing during the
The CWC has reached an understanding with the UPFA to have the
plantation community included in high level committees that are
appointed by the government, such as the Constitution Council and
Parliamentary Select Committees (PSCs) in commensurate with the 1.7
million population of the plantation community and the consideration of
appointments to foreign service too under the same criteria, Sivalingam
An understanding was also reached on improving the educational sector
through the appointment of teachers from among the educated youth of the
community every year at the rate of 3000, until the teacher shortage in
the plantation area schools are redressed, the starting of a university
for the community in Nuwara Eliya and the establishment of a College of
Education in Badulla, he added.
Although an understanding has been reached on these matters, the
signing of a comprehensive MOU is still under consideration, Sivalingam
Several far-reaching development projects for the socio-economic
welfare of the community were started by the UPFA Government after it
came to power in 2004, which included the Mahinda Chintana-Idiri Dekma
and were implemented in coordination with the CWC and other UPFA allies
in the plantations.
The 10-year National Action Plan (NAP) that was started with UN
funding is a very crucial program for the uplift of the socio-economic
conditions of the community and understanding on re-starting the program
and continuing programs on infrastructure facilities for the plantation
sector including roads, electricity and drinking water as well as
housing projects to do away with the age-old line-room system have been
The MOU to be signed will include these as well, Sivalingam said. In
the current context of the plantation sector, transforming the estates
as plantation villages, a program that was initiated under the UPFA
Government, takes center stage.
"It is absolutely necessary that the plantations should be
transformed as villages with schools, townships, road networks and other
The number of Grama Niladharis in the plantation sector is not
commensurate with their population and this shortcoming also has to be
An understanding on this issue has also been reached with the UPFA,"
the CWC President said.