Tamil Diplomat

The State of Plantation Sector in Sri Lanka



The total population is approximately 1.5 million

Resident population in the estates is- 912,000. Out of this workers 193,412 and the staff 12,330 (in 2012)are employed by the RPC,SLSPC,JEDB. Besides this they are working in the privates estates. Some are working in the tea & rubber small holdings. RPC-20, State Institutions- 07,(Tea, rubber, coconut, oil farm and forestry). In 2000 total labour force 261,400. In 2012-180,168(RPC) reduction of 31%, SLSPC-30% and JEDB-40%


The basic priority for any human beings is food, clothing and shelter. To achieve this they should have a living wage. But these people are not getting such a wage. The present wage structure agreed by the RPC and the Trade Unions on April 2013 up to 2015 March is given below. Before 2013 March total wage Rs.515.

Basic wage with EPF & ETF – Rs.450.

Price Share Supplement – Rs. 30.

Incentive bonus – Rs.140.

If a worker fulfills the required days of work only he or she get this 620 per a day. This is not a living wage. Increase of 115 rupees nominal wage. But is it a real wage?



Three injustices are done to the plantation community;

  • disfranchisation in 1948

  • Stopping Cost of Living Index in 1992

  • The removal of Ministry of Plantation Infrastructure in 2005 (Reinstated in 2015)


In 1993 to look after the welfare of the plantation workers Plantation Housing Development Trust was formed. In 2002 this name was changed in to Plantation Human Development Trust. This is composed of 11 People. For the last 10 years this is being controlled by the RPC, Minister and one Trade Union.


Now it has been reported that there had been a lot of corruption and the development work of the plantation sector was curtailed. For example, the Indian Housing Scheme of 4000 houses for the plantation workers. This was not yet implemented.

Another example is the dairy farm. Ministry approved 66m in 2014 to import 2500 cows from Newsland to be given to the workers. But only 2000 cows were imported at the cost of 660 000 per cow. But these cows are in the Government Farms and not given to the workers. In Newsland these cows produced 25 liter of milk per day and now only 8 lit. per day.


Nobody should be deprived of land and housing. We wish a scheme is set up with a dream of “No citizen without a land and a Home”. Land Right is not exercised by the plantation community. Reasons may be;

  • Lack of citizenship till 2003

  • Unwillingness by the two Unions and RPC.

  • Lack of political will on the part of the Government.


Since 1972 up to now in all the election campaigns promises are made that these people will be given land rights but only words.

Now there is a demand by the people that they should be given 20 perches of land with deed before commencing the housing scheme.

The present structure of the housing scheme

  • Change of Roof

  • Extension of front and rear

  • Twin Cottages

  • line Maadi (1.26 perch)

  • Individual House (5-7 perch)


Plantation-5In 2004, according to RPC, on 7 perch land construct the 515 sq.ft. house (two bedrooms, kitchen, verandah, bathroom with pipe water) at the cost of 515 000 rupees. Three perch land for home gardens. Before 2014 it was said that 855 houses will be completed. But it was not materialized. Just a election stunt. The TRUST implemented the housing scheme through the Estate Workers Housing cooperative Society and their by-laws.. Most of the houses that have been initiated by the Trust not completed and dragged for years and years.


One AB schools in the plantation districts is maximum 20. University admission per year approximately 50. Out of that 90 per cent for Arts and Commerce sections. Lack of teachers for Maths, Science, English IT and shortage of infrastructure. Estate workers’ children entering to Universities are very minimal. The schools reduced to 810 . 25% schools not updated.


Out of 45 bi-lingual Divisional Secretarial Divisions 25 are in the plantation districts. But language right is not implemented.

Public servant in 2005 – 644 000. In 2014 it is increased to 1.4 million. For every 17 persons there is one public servant. Out of this not even 5% are Tamil speaking.


Act No. 15 of 1987 of Pradeshya Sabah, section 33 deprive the plantation people participating in the national main stream.


In the present Government three are representing the plantation people. Mr.Thikambaram as a Cabinet Minister-Plantation Infrastructure, TRUST,and Mr.Velayuthem (Plantation Industries)and Mr.Rathakrishnan( Education)as State Ministers.


Money from leasing, chess tax, export duty, customs clearance per year comes to approximately 50 million per year.


“One examines leadership beginning not with techniques but rather with premises not with tools but with beliefs and not with systems but with understandings” (Jazz)


This leadership style is most successful when the leaders are genuinely concerned of serving those they lead. It is a leadership model based on that the end and means are inseparable and that we live in a world of relationships. Pope Francis -?(Greenleaf 1977)