Closure of Dipped Products a national crime – Co-Chairman


Dr. Mahesh Ranasoma, MD, Dipped Products PLC displays a pair of gloves. Mohan Pandithage, Chairman/CEO Hayleys, PLC looks on
(Pic by Nishan S. Priyantha)

By Madura Ranwala

The closure of Dipped Products PLC for four months, without specific reason, is a national crime, as the company had not caused low PH in the area, as shown in evidence, the Company’s Managing Director Dr. Mahesha Ranasoma says.

Addressing a media briefing at Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo yesterday, Chairman and Chief Executive of Hayleys Group, Mohan Pandithage said that he would seek the President’s help to open the factory that had been closed for more than three months without any evidence to prove that it released effluents which had lowered the ground water pH in the area.

Former Director, Economic Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, former President, Plastics Rubber Institute, Mevan Pieris, former Executive Director, Rubber Research Institute, Dr. L. M. K. Thilakatane, Head of Operations and DPL and B. K. Pathirage also attended the media briefing.

The factory had been closed as a result of residents in the area surrounding it and taking employees hostage on July 29 due to a misconception, and thereafter the protests had led to three innocent people being killed in Weliweriya on August 2, Dr. Ranasoma said.

Due to the protracted closure the factory had incurred a loss of one billion rupees for the four months and about 25,000 direct and indirect dependents had lost their livlihood due to baseless allegation that the company had contaminated the ground water through the release of effluents from the factory.

He said that the reports issued by the Government Analyst, Central Environmental Authority and Water Board had cleared the factory and had said the low pH in the area was not caused by them. Even scientific evidence had shown that the area had significant extents of low pH and according to a map of the Attanagalla basin, there were certain areas where there was low pH, Dr. Ranasoma stressed.

Claiming that false rumours spread like wildfire, he said that a report issued by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Kadawatha, to a person about his well water, had led to thousands of others stating that their well water was acidic and could not be used for drinking purposes.

However much the residents were educated on the matter that the company had not caused it and they had not allowed the factory to resume production.

"Even the WHO says a direct relationship between human health and the pH of drinking water is impossible to ascertain, because pH is so closely associated with other aspects of water quality…"

"Dipped products had gained world recognition for being the only company to produce three gloves, that no other country had produced and they had earned high demand in the world market, therefore the country had been recognized as one of the best gloves producing countries in the world and our loyal buyers had been searching for other options as our production had been stopped for more than three months and they are unable to cope up with the high demand," Dr. Ranasoma said.

The company had held talks with villagers and even with President Mahinda Rajapaksa but to no avail, he added.

The company was hopeful that media would educate the people, make them aware of the true situation and help the factory resume operations as it was an asset to the country, Dr. Ranasoma said.

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