Security issues arising from the ongoing strike by plantation workers have caused serious concern for the Government.
This is particularly after reports that superintendents on some estates have been told by the workforce to vacate their bungalows. This is on the grounds that their security cannot be guaranteed as the workers’ demands for a wage increase have not been heeded.
A senior Police official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, said yesterday that in a few estates, superintendents had already left their official bungalows for fear of threats to themselves and their families. Investigations were under way to ascertain whether a foreign hand was behind the sinister move.
Suspicions have been heightened by fears that such an attempt had both economic and security concerns.
On the economic front, besides the loss of production, the consequent loss in exports has already amounted to a staggering Rs 1.5 billion so far.
This figure is expected to increase as the strike, on its eleventh day today, continues. On the security front, it is feared, that threats to superintendents and consequently to tea factories would require substantial deployment of troops or policemen.
On Friday, Regional Plantation Companies and trade unions could not reach accord on the demand for a Rs 500 a day wage. The RPCs’ offer to pay Rs. 385 a day has been rejected by the unions. At present plantation workers receive a daily wage of Rs 290.