flour mill project remains in the oven
By Chris Kamalendran
The controversy over the Serendib flour mill project situated in
the Colombo Port premises has taken a new turn with the JVP coming
under pressure from the government, to withdraw the case filed against
the project in the Colombo District Court.
latest move came during a meeting between Ports Minister Mangala
Samaraweera and a JVP trade unionist where the Minister tried his
best to convince the trade union activist to withdraw the case.
JVP union had however refused to back down and vowed to continue
with their action while also pointing out that even the UNP did
something similar by compelling the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya a UNP
affiliated union, to withdraw the case filed by the JSS against
Sunday Times learns that one of the presidential advisors is known
to be canvassing in favour of the project, despite adverse technical
reports regarding its continuation.
construction work that was carried out has already caused some cracks
to appear on the Prince Vijaya Quay. The JVP affiliated All Ceylon
General Ports Employee Union (ACGPEU) in March this year filed a
case against government’s plan to lease out land for the Serendib
flour mill project, claiming that it would be a loss to the state
to allocate prime land from the Port premises for such a project.
petitioners claimed that a lease agreement had been entered into
in a discreet manner and it was thereafter challenged by the JSS,
but under pressure from the then UNF government the JSS withdrew
the case on the grounds that the proposed project had been shifted
to a new location some 50 meters away.
Sunday Times learns that pressure had also been brought on the Uva
Province Governor Nanda Mathew, who at the time was a member of
the UNP, had filed a separate case. Mr. Mathew told The Sunday Times
that under no circumstances would he withdraw the case.
said he decided on court action after the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya
withdrew its case as he felt it was only proper to continue the
battle against the project coming up within the port.
Mathew said he was particularly interested in the case from the
point of view that his father the late Cyril Mathew was a founder
member of the JSS and it was considered the fighting arm of the
UNP and union's decision to withdraw the case was influenced by