After firing 26 local workers who have been employed in both the divisions of Irrigation Department on a temporary basis for more than 13 years, 10 new workers, including 8 Sinhalese from South have been employed on permanent basis by the Colombo government in the Batticaloa, civil sources in Batticaloa said. When questioned, the SL ministry in Colombo claims that it has employed the new workers after examining their qualifications. But, the intention behind the move is to get the Sinhala workers to facilitate Sinhalicisation of border villages in the district that come under the irrigation divisions of Navakkiri and U’rukaamam (Rugam), the civil sources in Batticaloa said.
66 minor workers have been employed under temporary contracts at both the irrigation divisions more than 10 years. U’ruukaamam irrigation division covers 14,139 hectares of agricultural lands and Navakkiri division covers 7,362 hectares of lands.
Recently, 26 of them, including 2 Sinhalese, were suspended.
Instead, 10 new workers were employed. 8 of them are Sinhalese from Badulla district. The remaining two, a Tamil and a Muslim, are from Ampaa’rai district.
Plans are afoot to employ at least 20 Sinhalese on permanent basis under these irrigation schemes to look after the interests of the Sinhalese to be brought into the border areas of Batticaloa district, civil sources in Ka’luvaagnchik-kudi irrigation department office said.
The new workers are also being provided housing facilities as part of their permanent engagement, the sources further said.
In the meantime, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian P. Selvarasa has condemned the Colombo government for deploying workers from external districts after removing those who were already employed there.