JVP threatens estate agitation over flour hike

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Estate workers will launch an agitation against wheat flour price increase. They are demanding a reduction in kerosene and wheat flour prices or an increase in their daily wage.

President of the All Ceylon Estate Workers’ Union, former JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasegar told ‘The Island’ they were mostly dependent on wheat flour products and now they would have to launch a struggle to have their daily wages increased to compensate the hike in wheat flour.

The government’s tax hike on wheat flour resulted in the increase in the price of wheat flour by Rs. 8.50 a kilo, with immediate effect from midnight Thursday, he said.

Bakery Owners’ Association too warned that the price of a loaf of bread and other flour based products, would be increased by three to five rupees.

Chandrasegar said that the government had promised to grant a concession to the estate people, each time wheat flour price was hiked, but it had not honoured the promise yet.

He said that the government increased the tax on essential items to cover up the waste of their members and did not consider the sky–rocketing cost of living which even a government servant could not bear.

"Recent oil price hike too affected the estate people as most of them use kerosene," the irked JVPer said adding that the government promise to provide electricity to all estate people, was only a daydream.

After the agreement with plantation companies in 2011 to pay a Rs. 515 daily wage to estate workers, the oil and wheat flour prices increased three times, Chandrasegar said.

He said however, the estate workers got only Rs. 380 as daily pay after deductions and their wage was calculated the basis of prices prevalent in 2011.

"We will take to the streets with estate workers against the wheat flour price hike if the government does not provide relief to them," Chandrasegar said.

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