Minister comments on Hambantota port workers and the future

Minister comments on Hambantota port workers and the future

Minister comments on Hambantota port workers and the future

Written by Staff Writer

12 Dec, 2016 | 10:16 pm

Workers at the Magamruhunupura Port in Hambantota continued their strike for the sixth day on Monday, December 12.

While monks from the Association of Chief Incumbents of Viharayas in Hambantota arrived at the location in the morning to bless the strikers, a police team led by the Assistant Superintendent of Police in Hambantota arrived at the scene later and requested the demonstrators to remove the barricades they had placed blocking the access road to the port.

While the workers had acquiesced to this request, they voiced their protest when an outsider was employed to use a fork-lift from the Port to remove the barricades. Nevertheless, the police intervened to have the barricades removed.

As the strike and Satyagraha continues, the dock at the harbour remains under the control of the Navy while the Administrative Building and other sections of the port have been secured by the police and the Special Task Force.

Meanwhile, Minister – Ports and Shipping,   Arjuna Ranatunga speaking at a media briefing said:

The new organisation that we are forming today, is one that is being established by the Ports Authority, together with the Chinese company. It is a government institution”.

Relating to the ongoing strike at the harbour, the minister said:

When they (the workers) receive jobs from the intsitution they will be permanent positions. But given the situation, I do not know if we can be responsible for ensuring that they receive jobs.”

According to the minister, it is because “serious damage has been done”. The minister says that the workers have cut the CCTV connections and the electricty. He also said “we do not know what other crimes have been committed inside. We cannot work with such individuals in an organisation.”

Minister of Ports & Shipping Ranatunga also said that some shipping companies have already withdrawn, saying that “they will not come to Hambantota or Sri Lanka”.

“While we treat them as youth – they are still political tools”, added the minister.

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