In the wake of the recent Koslanda landslide, a plantation trade union has written to President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, saying that those who were affected by a similar landslide at Matale two years ago, had not been provided alternative housing by the authorities, though promised.
A number of people affected by the landslides that took place at the Nickoloya, Pitakanda and Bandarapola estates, in the Matale District, in December, 2012 have not been provided with alternative housing, said Joint Plantation Trade Union Centre (JPTUC) Secretary General S. Ramanathan in the letter, dated 14 November, 2014 (yesterday).
He however appreciated the steps taken by Rajapaksa to provide succour to those affected by the recent landslide at Koslanda.
Nevertheless, Ramanathan, referring to the Matale landslide disaster, which took place two years ago, said, “When this matter was discussed with the relevant authorities, then, we were informed that there were enough funds available with the Government, but there was no one willing to give land for the construction of houses.”
“Thereafter, we negotiated with the then Chairman of the Sri Lanka State Plantations Corporation and Elkaduwa Plantations Ltd., who readily allocated the required lands for this purpose, but it is sad that the building of houses was not done thereafter, saying that there was no money to start the work,” he had said, in the letter.
This was despite the fact that, the President himself visited the victims in refugee camps at Rattota and had given instructions to authorities, said Ramanathan.
The JPTUC also decided that it was time that the government should have a policy decision and implement it regularly through the Disaster Management Ministry in-order to identify unsafe areas in the plantations and to protect people by settling them in safe areas, he said.