Free Trade Zone workers (FTZW) and the General Services Employees Union (GSEU) have called upon the government to refrain from blaming the victims of the Koslanda landslide for the tragedy that befell them and to act with responsibility in assisting them, by formulating and presenting a development plan before the parliament on the right to life and land.
Joint Secretary of the FTZW and GSEU, Anton Marcus in a statement yesterday has referred to a resolution that was passed during the General Council meeting held on Sunday that calls for an immediate formulation of a plan that would be implemented through a committee that comprises of relevant state agencies, plantation management and workers representing the sector.
The resolution has also urged the government to formulate environmentally friendly development plans with the participation of professionals and academics of the sector, pointing out it is the irresponsible land use for short term economic gains that resulted in last week’s tragedy.
They have gone on to point it that the plantation workers cannot be relocated from their estates as they cannot afford to travel daily to work and also involves heavy planning that include livelihood options for workers, schooling for their children and adequate health facilities if they are moved.
While appreciating the quick intervention and services rendered by the people in the neighborhoods and the security forces and the Police in the rescues and relief efforts, the FTZW and GSEU have also criticized the government’s responses pointing out they have not acted with due responsibility in providing information to the public.
They have also stated the government is attempting to underplay the tragedy through the contradicting numbers of the death toll that varies from 192 to 1413. The FTZW and the GSEU have also criticized the way in which the government is trying to pass the responsibility to the affected workers by stating they faced the incident due to not heeding the warnings issued in 2005 and 2011 to leave the location as it is landslide prone.