July 02, Colombo: There is a serious risk of closing all the tea factories in seven districts across the country if sufficient fuel stocks are not received in the next few days, Lionel Herath, president of the Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owner’s Association has said.
In the seven tea-growing districts of the country, 264 private tea factories and another 258 factories under the Plantation Companies and non-members are operating across the country.
Mr. Hearath said that some tea factory owners have paid money to get fuel, but the fuel has not been provided till now and the support received from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to the tea industry is not enough.
He also mentioned that due to the fuel problem and power cuts, factories in some parts of the island are operating only four days a week.
It is reported that the transportation of tea leaves has also been hampered due to fuel problems.
Meanwhile, Mr. Herath mentioned that the tea factories have fallen into a serious crisis due to the power cuts and said the government should pay more attention to the problems of the tea industry, which brings more foreign exchange.
According to the Tea Factory Owners’ Association, 400,000 small tea plantation owners and nearly 2 million people who are engaged in indirect jobs related to the tea industry are suffering from this situation.
The Association said that a program of providing fuel for tea factories by the Sri Lanka Transport Board was started previously, but it has also failed.