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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 82

A day in the life of a Sri Lankan tea worker

[b]A day in the life of a Sri Lankan tea worker[/b]

By Jayanthi Perera – World Socialist Web Site

Five days after Sri Lanka’s new government was installed on November 23, the state-owned Daily News carried a front-page headline, "Urgent action to uplift estate workers." The article pompously announced that President Mahinda Rajapakse had instructed Milroy Fernando, the new plantation minister, to give priority to "uplifting the estate sector workers who have been perennially suffering abject poverty and misery".

A ministerial project report will supposedly "detail a wide range of shortcomings confronting the estate population, covering health, education, economic conditions, unemployment among estate youth, drinking water, land erosion, access road and passenger transport".

This is not the first time that plantation workers have heard pledges of this kind. Despite numerous past promises to improve living conditions, the situation facing workers continues to deteriorate. A World Bank report on Sri Lanka released early this year found that poverty among plantation workers increased by 50 percent over the decade from 1991-92 to 2002.

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