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General public unaffected by strike
Attempts to sabotage transport fail
While the government yesterday claimed that the JVP and UNP organised token general strike was an utter flop, JVP trade union leader and parliamentarian K. D. Lal kantha countered that the strike was a success. But to all intents and purposes the strike hardly had any impact on the general public in their daily routine work.

Several incidents of intimidation and assault on those who reported for work were reported from many parts of the country. The most serious was an assault on Hemasiri Jayawardena, an ambulance driver attached to the Kandy General Hospital. He is now warded in the Intensive Care Unit and his condition was described as critical. He is also the Treasurer of the Sri Lanka Ambulance Drivers’ Union.

According to Kandy Police a masked man had attacked Jayawardena with a sword. Police said they were waiting until his condition improved to record his statement.

Transport services were quite normal in all parts of the country. However, Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said several acts of sabotage on public transport had been reported.

Some logs were placed on the rail track near Hettipola at Rambukkana on Wednesday night delaying the upcountry night mail by a few hours.

In Hettimulla, Beruwala some concrete sleepers were placed on the track and in Aluthgama, Beruwala and Gintota signal installations were destroyed. In Rambukkana engine oil had been thrown into passenger compartments but nobody was hurt.

SLCTB buses had been attacked and tyres had been deflated at 30 points. In Batugoda in the Horana area the Kalutara District Secretary of the All Ceylon Transport Services Union was taken into Police custody on suspicion of deflating a SLCTB bus tyre by driving a nail in to it. The Minister said 127 additional buses were added to the fleet yesterday.

In the North, in Vavuniya and Mannar, all state run offices, banks and schools functioned smoothly but state run hospitals in the provinces were short of minor staff who stayed away. ICRC and NGO personnel went to the rescue and restored normal services.

In the Ragama Hospital many minor staff members did not report for duty and nearly 80 Navy personnel from the nearby Welisara Navy camp were pressed into duty. In other hospitals country wide, where mainly the minor staff refrained from reporting for duty, service personnel were called in to help the hospital staff.

According to Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva 95 per cent of all medical and nursing staff had reported for duties island wide, notably at the Colombo National Hospital.

Among those who kept away were dispensers, kitchen helpers, labourers, attendants and sanitary workers and that too only in rural hospitals.

In Nuwara Eliya, District Secretary, D. V. G. Kumarasiri said all offices under the divisional secretariats functioned without interruption and transport services were normal. In the estate sector however 85 per cent of the labour force did not report for work.

All schools functioned normally, but in Colombo schools lower classes reported a low turn out. Inquiries revealed that many school vans that transport students in the lower classes failed to turn up to pick up children.

Unions attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board said that 85 per cent of workers reported for duty instead of the usual 75 per cent. According to a senior CEB official certain interruptions to electricity supply were reported in some parts of the country due to sabotage but power supplies were restored without delay. The breakdowns reported was less than usual. A trade union leader said that he knew the strike would be a flop since it was planned according to the agendas of political parties. Despite numerous efforts The Island was unable to contact the JVP backed union leaders of the CEB.

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