02 June 2011 /By Yohan Perera
Unrest at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone had resulted in losses at many factories running into millions of rupees, Inter Company Workers Union President Wasantha Samarasinghe said yesterday.
Mr. Samarasinghe blamed the police for the losses and said that in one of the companies losses were high as Rs 50 million. He said five factories had suffered extensive damage and it would take about three months for them to return to normalcy. He said more than 15 vehicles had also been damaged in the chaos that ensued along with a large number of motor bikes.
The trade union leader charged that the government was making use of the situation to fulfill its vested interests. Officials at the zone also confirmed that the losses could be large but did not say exactly how much damage had been caused by the violence. The Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries Sri Lanka (FCCISL) Vice President Kumar Mallimarachchi said that there may be some damages. However he said the workers should have been educated on the proposed pension scheme before it was presented to Parliament.
An industrialist told Daily Mirror that several orders had been held up because of the closure of the zone during the last two days. He said it was unfortunate to see the zone becoming a battle field with both the police and the workers sustaining injuries in the ensuing violence. “Both parties should have acted in a more responsible manner,” he said. However another industrialist who also did not want to be named said they had not suffered much loss as the zone was closed for only two days. “We are glad that the zone is opening today therefore we can get the orders ready,” he added.