Covid-19 response in the plantation sector unprecedented: PA

The Planters’ Association of Ceylon  today said contrary to popular belief the response against COVID-19 in the plantation sector has been unprecedented and exhaustive.

PA commended exhaustive measures taken by Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) in partnership with Government and health authorities to minimize the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted into estate communities, and urged strict and continuous vigilance moving forward.

Operations on RPC estates were halted on 13 th March 2020 in compliance following the Government’s direction to all citizens to work from home and avoid public places, and the subsequent declaration of curfew on 20 th March 2020.

Since then, RPC estate managers and their teams of employees have been working in close partnership with health authorities and regional officers of the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among estate communities.

Existing lines of communications between Government, management and workers were immediately deployed to raise the alarm and educate workers and estate community members on all safety measures to be implemented.

“Contrary to what some small trade unions have been falsely claiming in local and international media, the response against COVID-19 in the plantation sector has been unprecedented and exhaustive. Upon the formation of a Plantation Task Force to combat the spread of this virus, the plantation sector was the very first to jump into action. All stakeholders rallied around Government authorities to support health officials and safeguard estate communities in every way possible. A great deal has been accomplished in a very short time and we are extremely grateful for the support provided by the Government, the RPCs, and especially the estate communities themselves in abiding by all directives.

“Throughout, health and law enforcement officials together with RPC employees have been working tirelessly to safeguard the RPC workforce of approximately 135,000 as well as the wider estate community of more than 1 million individuals. The risks created by this pandemic are not expected to abate in the near future hence we must remain absolutely vigilant, and RPCs will of course continue to strictly adhere to all Government directives and take every possible measure to protect these communities moving forward,” PA Chairman, Sunil Poholiyadde stated.