CBK agrees to abandon Kotmale Project

Sep 17 (IL) The President has retracted an initial pledge of going ahead with the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power project and has agreed to the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) demand of abandoning this 150 MW power project, as part of a 13-point deal struck between the Government and CWC.

During a news conference yesterday, CWC member and Community Development Minister, Muthu Sivalingam said that his party had forwarded 13 proposals to the Government and they had agreed to all 13 demands. Among the main demands granted were:

Discussions with the CWC on the proposed Constituent Assembly, abolishment of the Executive Presidency and plans to change the existing electoral system before a final decision is taken.

The CWC has emphasized that the above three matters should be discussed before a final decision is taken.

Among the other demands put forward to the Government by the CWC were the allocation of Rs. 1.5 billion annually for a period of five years to develop infrastructure in the plantations such as electricity, water supply, roads and community development.

Recruitment of 1,000 plantation youths to the police department, recruitment of 3,500 teachers to fill all vacancies in the Tamil schools in the plantation areas, were also demanded.

Some of the other demands are: One fully equipped Tamil medium school in each of the plantation districts, a scheme to construct 20,000 housing units per year in the plantation areas and the allocation of approximately Rs. 5 billion for the next five years for this purpose. Demands for the recruitment to state sector employment to be done only on ethnic ratio basis and recruit 2500 A/L qualified youths into the clerical service to be posted as front office staff at all government institutions in the Central, Uva, Sabaragamuwa,North Western and Western provinces, have also been granted.

Other demands granted by the Government to the CWC are:

A special administrative arrangement for delivery of government services in the Tamil language with appointment of necessary specialized staff, develop and expand the Siripada College of Education to increase the intake, develop further facilities for vocational training and create a functional management structure to Thondaman Vocational Training Centre to include Ministry of Estate Infrastructure, and start a Technical College leading to NDT in the upcountry with exclusive access for plantation youth