JVP charges fifth column at work

Nov 12 (IL) Despite the Alliance Government's policy of not privatising state institutions there are some in the Government working hard to privatise the Ceylon Electricity Board and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, a JVP minister charged.

Speaking at the opening of the Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya (LVSS) office at the Ceylon Electricity Board premises yesterday morning, Small and Rural Industries Minister K.D. Lal Kantha said, "The privatisation plans, despite the change of Government continue. The monster is not dead. It is raising its head in different forms with vigour. The elements in the Alliance with vested interests are lobbying for the privatisation of state institutions such as the CEB and CEYPETCO," he said.

"But the JVP which is part and parcel of this Government will work towards defeating all such moves," he assured.

The Minister also said that unless the coal power and the Upper Kotmale hydro power projects were taken up immediately, Sri Lanka would face a power crisis within the next five years, the consequences of which would be more disastrous than those of the two decade long North-East conflict.

Mr. Lal Kantha said if these two projects were not commissioned soon the CEB would have to continue to rely on diesel-fired power plants and the financial crisis gripping the Board would worsen. Currently the CEB is saddled with a bank overdraft of over Rs. 20 billion.

LVSS Secretary Ranjan Jayalal addressing the union members declared that the LVSS will strive towards securing the workers rights and will not at any cost allow the CEB to be privatized.

"We will not even let it be broken up into separate parts," he said. Some 40% of the 15,000 CEB workers are members of the LVSS, according to Mr. Jayalal.