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* Sri Lanka trade union calls for complete withdrawal of electricity tariff hike
Tue, May 7, 2013, 11:25 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka's National Trade Union Center (NTUC) affiliated with the Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated says the government does not need to amend the increased electricity tariffs, but should take measures to completely withdraw them.

Head of the NTUC, K.D. Lalkantha in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the people could not accept the electricity tariff hike.

"Following the continuous protests by political parties, trade unions and the working masses, you have taken steps to reduce the increased electricity tariff," he has noted.

However, he has pointed out that what the President should have done was to completely withdraw the electricity tariff hike.

According to Lalkantha, the government could after withdrawing the increased electricity tariffs, reach a consensus and a mechanism to increase the tariffs after discussing with political parties, trade unions, the working masses and other stakeholders.

He has also questioned as to why the government paid the electricity bills of government ministers with the people's tax monies, why action has not been taken against the electricity mafia? Why private thermal power plants have not been taken over by the state after paying compensation to the operators? Why public funds are wasted on various unnecessary state functions? And why the Sapugaskanda oil refinery is not renovated?

Nevertheless, Lalkantha has said that the working masses would launch a strike on May 21st if the electricity tariffs are not withdrawn by May 20th.

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