Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva yesterday allegedly took the industrial law into his own hands when he walked into Hayleys Group’s Venigros Ltd. in the Gampaha District and ordered its closure, endangering 600 jobs and key supplies for exports, to the cheers of residents accusing the factory of a major pollution scandal.
The factory which is part of Dipped Products Plc of Hayleys Group, was implicated in the alleged contamination of groundwater prompting the Chief Monk in Weliweriya to start a fast onto death yesterday. Tensions were rising with residents surrounding the factory.
The residents are demanding that the authorities provide pipebourne water to the area free of charge and a relocation of the factory involved.
However the factory staff said they have got the relevant certifications to confirm it was not responsible for alleged contamination. They alleged that Minister Silva’s high handed action was unwarranted at a time when the Company was in discussions with relevant stakeholders to address their concerns.
Venigros manufactures industrial and surgical gloves and accounts for around 50% of DPL’s export turnover. DPL is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of protective gloves. Operating for four decades DPL accounts for 5% of world’s production of non-medical rubber gloves