Upcountry workers and NIC

– Thinakkural Editorial

(September 18, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wicremanayake has ordered the officials to provide NICs immediately to all upcountry workers, who have reached the eligible age. He has given the 31 December as the dead line to complete the project.

Prime Minister has taken this measure after consulting Karu Jayasuriya, Internal Affairs Minister, Arumugan Thondaman, CWC leader and government officials.

Although the problems faced by the upcountry estate workers due to the non-possession of NICs had been pointed out for many years, the officials failed to take necessary steps to provide them with the NIC.

At the Sabragamuwa election, the Election Commissioner made NIC as mandatory to vote. Many Tamils in the two districts were unable to exercise their votes.

Upcountry workers who ensured their representation all these years, could not win even one seat. It seems that this wisdom has dawned on the upcountry trade union leaders and the political leaders.

The concern of the upcountry Tamil leaders is not that their people are not in possession of identity cards but more than that is that they will not be able to get their votes to come to power if the identity card is made compulsory for casting their ballots.

In any case, we welcome this move. In any event the estate trade unions and their elected leaders should exert adequate pressure to realize this objective!

(An English translation of the Editorial in Thinakkural, a Tamil daily, based in Colombo.)
- Sri Lanka Guardian