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Controversy Over LMSL Labour Recruitment?

by Hafsa Sabry

Kokilai road construction project

The controversial labour recruitments for the Kokilai project by Lanka Mineral Sands Limited (LMSL) functioning under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, has allegedly been aided by the political influence of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, and reported as a violation of regulations and circulars released by the Management Service Department (MSD) and the Commissioner General of Elections.

The approval letter (DMS/G1/60/16 VOL CC13) for the labour recruitment to fill 47 vacancies of Kokilai project had been issued in December 2012 by the MSD, but 117 labours have been allegedly recruited with the aid of political influence, as casual workers, while allegedly violating the regulations conferred by the MSD.

Moreover, the Chairman of the LMSL has allegedly recruited 62 labourers in June 2013 as casual workers and the employees reported for work only on July 2015, raising a question as to how the labourers reported to work after two years of recruitment, and as to why the authorities are silent on the matter.

Meanwhile, former chairman of the company, M.A.M. Hilmy in June 2015 has allegedly recruited 55 labourers and according to the letter (LMS/ET/6/1), it was revealed that they have only reported to work after a month, this is also a violation of the circular released by the MSD.

According to the regulations, the workers should at least have sat for the G.C.E. O/L examination and should have scored above 60 in the interview conducted by the management. Even though the regulations are applicable to all the government authorities and state institutions, the recruited labourers of the Kokilai Project seems to have failed to fulfill the requirements of recruitment.

Furthermore, the Commissioner General of Elections in his letter dated PE/2015/4 had requested the government authorities not to recruit neither promote nor transfer any employees from 22-26 June 2015, but, the LMSL had recruited employees while allegedly issuing backdated appointment letters to the workers who were recruited.

If there is a necessity for the government authorities to recruit either temporary or permanent labourers as casual workers, it should be approved by the MSD, whereas this company in question has allegedly violated the regulations. According to the regulation No.3 of January 12, 2014 and No. 25/26/14, an approval from the MSD is required to recruit employees for any government authorities but, 117 employees who were allegedly recruited for the Kokilai project were not approved by the MSD.

According to reliable inside sources, 117 workers who were recruited as casual labourers will be made permanent workers before mid-December this year and, in the meantime, 30 workers out of them fail to fulfil the necessary requirements for the labour recruitment.

However, it is significant to note that the illegal labour recruitments while violating the regulations and the circulars issued by the relevant authorities are allegedly being carried out with the acknowledgement and the influence of one the Ministers of the ‘good governance government’. Therefore, the government and the relevant authorities should address this to eradicate corruption.

 

Chairman of LMSL

When questioned about the irregularities in the recruitment of labourers for the Kokilai Project, the chairman of LMSL P.B.M.M. Moragolla said that labourers who were recruited had a lower income and were from the area. He also claimed that they were recruited as trainees and they will be made permanent once they are qualified with the necessity requirements.  He also said that the workers were recruited only for cleaning of lands, cleaning of the machines and as security personnel, since the number of labours approved by the MSD was not adequate enough to finish the work therefore they recruited 117 workers temporarily as casual workers.

According to the chairman of the LMSL, the labourers were only recruited as trainees, but he himself assures that the workers were involved in the cleaning process and the security process of the Kokilai Project. This obviously hints of an influence over the recruitments.

 

CEO of LMSL

One of the higher ranking officers of the LMSL, on grounds of anonymity said that they were aware of the illegal recruitments but were silent on the issue as they could not act against it.

However, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the of the LMSL Asoka Peiris claims that the MSD had approved the labour recruitments for 120 workers for 6 months hence they have not violated any circulars released by the MSD nor by the Commissioner General of Elections since the labours were recruited on the 27th of June this year.

“I was then working in the department of the Commissioner General of Elections and I knew the circular was released not to recruit, promote and to transfer any state institutions’ employees. Nevertheless, the labour recruitments for the Kokilai project were carried out after the elections hence there is no law violations or illegal labour recruitments in the project.  But however, he claimed that he was new to the post and unaware of any labour recruitment before October this year while claiming that he is not sure when the MSD approved the labour recruitments and refused to respond to The Sunday Leader.

 

The Minister

Since the allegations were levelled against the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishard Bathiudeen, The Sunday Leader questioned the secretary to the ministry as the minister was busy.  Responding to the questions the secretary T.M.B.K. Tennakkoon said that a press conference will be held very soon to answer any questions on the labour recruitment issues of the Kokilai Project and no information on any account will be revealed to the media before the press conference.

 

Kokilai Project

The former Government had taken steps to Construct Kokilai Bridge that approaches across Kokilai Lagoon on Mullaitivu – Kokilai – Pulmudai Road. Development of the road network which is currently underway connecting many villages will enable better access to nearly 80% of the population living in rural areas.

 

The Mullaitivu – Kokilai – Pulmudai Road has been identified as a priority road for development with the view to provide continuous land connectivity on the coastal belt between the Eastern Province and the Northern Province. It is proposed to construct a bridge across the Kokilai Lagoon which will greatly reduce the distance between Mullaitivu and Pulmudai by about 100 km.

 

1 Comment for “Controversy Over LMSL Labour Recruitment?”

  1. Malin

    The readers must appreciate Sunday Leader’s staff has some very skilled investigative journalists even to come out with fraudelant acts in the present Yahapalanaya Govt. This is also another Yahapalanaya episode.

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