Killing defenceless Peter to pay Paul
Jan 1, 2014

The decision to fell 66,000 trees in Mid-country to settle arrears of Rs.1840 million to the Employees’ Provident Fund and the Employees’ Trust Fund has been subject to severe criticism. Member of the Central Provincial Council Sanjeewa Kaviratne (UNP) told the media that more than 8500 trees in Lower Rattota

a highly sensitive environmental zone in the low-lying area of the Knuckles Range would be cut down. He also charged that the authorities had turned down the highest tender of Rs.218 million and accepted a lower tender of Rs. 63 million to cut and remove trees in Opalgala State Plantation in the Matale District.

Meanwhile the employees of these estates who were concerned about the planned axing of trees planted by English planters to protect the environment and prevent soil erosion expressed their disappointment over this government decision that would affect the bio- diversity balance in the area. They accused the authorities of misusing the ETF and EPF contributions deducted from estate employees’ salaries for more than nine years.

The employees also said that thousands of trees had been cut and sold already under the false pretext of raising funds to pay salaries. However, State Resources and Enterprises Minister Saliya Sri Tissera said that Cabinet approval had been received to cut and sell the trees without causing environmental damage to pay arrears of EPF and ETF contributions.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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