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Minister Manusha Nanayakkara Emphasizes Resilience in the Face of Challenges

‘On the difficult journey of the glass vine bridge with iron shoes, no other people are needed for the last half, The Red comrades do not speak for the wages of plantation workers, My father was shot for turning on the house light – Labor and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara’

Mr. Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment, emphasized while participating in the ‘Jayagamu Sri Lanka’ mobile service program that started in Badulla today (31), that the difficult journey of the glass vine bridge with iron shoes will not stop even in the last half, and the bridge will not be allowed to be demolished.

In the ‘Jayagamu Sri Lanka’ program scheduled to be held today and tomorrow (01), the minister specifically mentioned that there has been a delay in sending workers to Israel due to the protests by people trained only in agitation. Even so, the minister said that all steps will be taken to maintain affairs with the Israeli government as before.

“As the president said, we embarked on a difficult journey on a glass vine bridge wearing iron shoes. How difficult were those iron shoes for that journey. We had to come quickly. We are taking the rest to the front. Leave it to others and demolish the vine bridge, and the people of the country will suffer.

This is the program that will develop the country. There is a suspicion that an agitator called “Diyaw-Diyaw” was sent to disrupt that too. We face it. We have succeeded in dealing with Israel and are resuming the program to win the Israel . We will win that challenge as well,” said the minister.

“Even if I don’t have a microphone, I can speak and be heard by the last chair of this hall. That’s how the strength of the south was brought to us. It should be our responsibility as a nation to correct the small delays, errors, and omissions, accept those challenges, and move forward.

Badulla is the capital of the Uva province. More development has been achieved today than in history. A district with a large area where Badulla can develop further. Badulla is a district that can bring more tourists to Sri Lanka and make significant development.

Basic arrangements are being made for that. Plantations provide enormous support to Sri Lanka’s economy. By keeping the plantations the same way, by using the government’s plantations and our workers, by keeping the existing old tea trees and giving 1000 rupees to the laborers, we will change the system where only the employers get rich.

We are implementing the program of paying 1700 rupees to the plantation workers’ salary, creating a good, new, more productive plantation, developing modern technology and the cultivation industry. The President intervened and decided to increase the wages of plantation workers. Our Sendil Thondaman, Jeevan Thondaman, and Vadivel Suresh intervened and fought hard to bring the salary to 1700. Now the companies say that they are going to court. I am also waiting to see what the court order will be.

The President said that if they go to court, we will get the best lawyer available. If they say that working people can live on 1000 rupees, they are wrong. The cost of living has increased. The economic situation has collapsed, poverty has increased by 26%, and the highest poverty is in the plantation sector. The President advised me to use all the powers and apply the laws and go to court and present the facts. If they play games without paying such salaries, we are ready to take back these estates.

These estates are government-owned. They are only the renters. Invest in estates. To enforce the law, we have taken a decision together with Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva. If the plantation employers cannot do it, we will take it back and give it to the people who can do it for the protection of the plantation workers.

Not only that, we are working to give land rights to the estate people by allocating a village for them to build houses in the estate, to give a piece of land for freehold ownership, and to cultivate as the owner of the estate. When you come to Badulla, you should remember that the rules and regulations are now being prepared by the President together with the Prime Minister in a special committee.

We are now going to court and fighting for a salary increase. But those who want to build the country do not even speak. I looked where the ”Kaiyanayaks” were, where the ”Puthano” were. They don’t say a word about it. It means that they do not think about the working people. They say loudly that they are ready to die on behalf of the people. However, did they speak a single word for the wages of these working people. Did they ask to give 1700, did they come to court as a party to support us? No, not at all. They remain silent.

Only Vadivel Suresh and the Thondamans stood with us and the President for the plantation workers. Those who spoke earlier are afraid of the company and now they are turning a blind eye because they take money from companies. Those big companies are the ones who give money to go around the country. That’s why they don’t open their mouths against the companies. We ask the Red comrades to open their mouths against these plantation companies. But they remain silent. That means money has been taken from the companies.

We are starting a new program through the Foreign Employment Bureau from next month called ‘Don’t get caught’ and going from Estate to Estate. A special program is being implemented in the Badulla district to inform workers and expatriate plantation workers in the right way and give them the benefits.

Our state minister said that the JVP told judiciary will be brought to the village. We remember that after the rebellion of ’71, during the terror of ’88-’89, such cases were heard in the village. They said not to turn on the lights. They said not to go on the road. If you don’t comply, your neck will be cut.

My father was also told not to turn on the lights. But he, my father, asked if he was not keeping the lights on as they wanted. My father was killed when I was eleven years old for the mistake of turning on the lights. He was a man who did normal politics in the village.

They made India protest and said not to bring goods from India. In those days, we called big onions “Bombay onions” as they were imported from India. We called dal “Mysore dal” because it was also imported from India. When the JVP banned Indian products, we had to change the names of these consumer goods too. During the period of 1988-1989, people who took 250 onions and 250 dal were sentenced to death by the JVP courts functioning in the village.

They organized anti-India classes, killed 60,000 people, went to India silently, and returned to Sri Lanka to denounce the conspiracy against India, only to say ‘sorry’ now. We built all these beliefs and hindered the development of our country for decades. It halted the progress we could have achieved together with India. Today, we have come as ‘Jayagamu Sri Lanka’ to strive for victory. Let’s start changing. Politicians, government officials—all should put aside their color, party, caste, and religion, and rally for the victory of the country. That’s where we need to work.

The reason why Badulla is famous is that the stanza begins with Mahiyangana. Now a monk of our NPP faction (National People’s Power) says that the Lord Buddha never visited Sri Lanka. This is the ideology of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. This attacks the faith of Buddhists in Badulla. It is useless to say ‘sorry’ after breaking people’s trust like this. We should not go to those places and rebuild the country. Comrade Wijeweera said that when we were building the Ella-Wellawaya road, it was to be built for landing American planes.

If that road had been built then, you could reach Colombo very quickly at high speed. They told Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa to make the highway and put ”Embukthiyal fish” and bring curd and honey. They said the cat on the other side can’t cross the expressway. But today, the expressway has brought you closer to Colombo. If we want to win the country, it is bad to get caught up in these misconceptions and stop the country’s progress. No matter which political party does it, if it stops the ideologies that move the country forward, it should be opposed.

They have opposed Uma Oya too. It was delayed for 8 years. If 20 megawatts could have been added to the national grid, the electricity would not have been cut. Samantha Vidyaratna did that damage to the country. The hole of Uma Oya has not been found yet. They said there would be no water to Bandarawela. In the end, the head of state of Iran opened their donation.

How many cultural heritages are there in Badulla? Today, the railway track from Colombo to Badulla has become the most popular train journey in the world. The Nine Arch Bridge has it all. The rail track to Badulla is called the “track to the moon.” It is so beautiful.

Today, this movement is for the children of expatriate workers who sent 11.5 billion dollars to Sri Lanka when the country fell. It is to those children that this road is given today. The parents of these children brought medicine when their fathers died without medicine. At that time, there was no fuel, no gas, no medicine in this country. It is not wrong to pay tribute to them. Unfortunately, some say it is wrong to do these things and they are unnecessary tasks. When poverty increased to 26%, these people worked to reduce it up to 10%.

Is it wrong to give people security, land rights, and rice. Is this bad. This is national work, the government’s plan to eradicate poverty. Loans can be paid later. We will strengthen the people of the country first. That’s why people are aware that we will win Sri Lanka. That is why it is said that in the midst of these difficulties, we will build this country in another two years.

After passing half of the vine bridge, they say that we can take the rest. As the President said, there was a difficult journey on a glass vine bridge wearing iron shoes. How hard were those iron shoes for that difficult journey. We had to be alert. We put on big shoes and take the last bit forward. We are not ready to leave the matter to others and demolish the vine bridge, making the people of the country suffer.

Jayagamu Sri Lanka – We want to lead Sri Lanka to victory. Starting with us, let’s work hard and take our country forward. Let’s win Sri Lanka. Join hands.

One decision taken by Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe during the 2015 government was to sing the national anthem in Tamil. We will move forward as a country with that unity,” said the minister.

Minister of Ports and Naval Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of State for Foreign Employment Promotion Jagath Pushpakumara, Minister of State for Urban and Housing Tenuka Vidanagamage, Members of Parliament Vadivel Suresh, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment Ananda Wimalaweera and Badulla District Secretary Prabhat Abeywardena. Mudita Padmajay, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, Hilmi Aziz, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau, Director General of the Department of Manpower and employment K.G.H.N.R. Kiriella, National Director General of Labour Suranga Varshkoon, Senior Inspector General of Police (Badulla District) Wasantha Kandewatta, Deputy Superintendent of Provident Fund Division of Central Bank of Sri Lanka W.H.M. Kumar, Assistant Manager Bank of Ceylon (Uva Province) I.K. Navaratne etc., officials of agencies affiliated to the Ministry including the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau, Divisional Secretaries of the district, police officers, government employees and members of migrant workers’ families participated in the event.

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