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IGP assures timely action to avoid ugly incidents on plantations Following killing of Noorie Estate chief

2013 Jul 29

By Steve A. Morrell

Amidst the brutal slaying of senior planter Nihal Perera, Superintendent of Noorie Estate, Deraniyagala, the Ceylon Planters’ Society (CPS) met with IGP N. K. Illangakoon and five senior DIGs last week to discuss security-related issues in the country’s estates.

The CPS was represented by its president, Nisala Jayawardena and secretary general, Lt. Col. (Retd) Leslie Marshal.

Plantation Industries Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, whose intervention was described by the CPS as "timely and opportune" was instrumental in arranging the discussion with the IGP.

IGP Illangakoon had said that future interactions between the police and the CPS would include quarterly review meetings to assess the law and order situation on estates. Timely action would be initiated to avoid ugly incidents of lawlessness and the positive support of the police could be expected.

Earlier, planting staff on estates with the 20,000 strong membership of the Ceylon Estates Staff Union, (CESU) were to stage demonstrations to highlight the breakdown of law and order in the plantations. Volatile interference by outside gangs with the support of insidious elements were instrumental in lawless rampage and these persons terrorized these areas, it has come to light.

The demonstrations were called off through the intervention of Minister Samarasinghe, who also, in consequence brokered a crucial meeting with Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the CPS, to highlight the urgency for positive support necessary for routine continuation of work on plantations.The CPS and the CESU said if the planned demonstrations went ahead, the whole plantation industry would have been disrupted.

The impact of these problems would also have had serious repercussions on the tea market and rubber industries. International concerns were rising because tea buyers internationally were concerned that supplies would dwindle and that they would have to go elsewhere to purchase their requirements, tea buyers and brokers in Colombo said.

The IGP had assured that closer links would be maintained with the CPS and the estate sector to ensure there was no breakdown in the law and order situation on estates in the future.

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