The plight of the daily paid quarry workers
The minute the Easter Bombing happened the Government immediately banned the sale of any ammunition or gun powder or dynamite constantly used in Sri Lanka to blow granite for the rock quarrying industry. This meant that industry came to a standstill and granite rock became scarce in the market place for use in home building.
The real side effect say in the poorer area of Kurunegala, say in the Katupotha area where there are 300 such small quarries employing people who are on the breadline, who can do no other work, were left without their daily wage. They are day laborers who sometimes come with their families who live in tents in appalling conditions to earn some money crushing rocks with their hands once the dynamite blows chunks of rock from the rock face.
Being who they are, no shop gives them credit for food items either. So once they lose their livelihood they literally starve without anything to eat. There is no one they can go for relief. As transient residents, they don’t even get Samurdhi (welfare) as they are of NO permanent residence.
Can any politician understand that by their actions there are people who are so poor who have been directly affected by them and have no one to ask for help, and being low down the pecking order are the forgotten people of the land?
They need to be identified, but the government system fails this type of person, as they don’t get recorded anywhere. No one bats for them, or cares about them.
I presume often they don’t have a vote, so that is an even more serious case of willful neglect of the poorest of our society by the society itself, not having a mechanism to pick up those who don’t.
Finally, on Wednesday, 29th May 2019, there was a decision to grant permits once again to purchase gun powder or dynamite, after getting a permit from the District Secretariat where the particular quarry is. I presument the Bureau of Mines and Geological Survey that grants this permit is also involved in the approval procedure and after over a month, these people finally have some relief.
I was given all this information by my driver Sugath who was appalled at the level to which these people had fallen into after the Easter Day Terrorist acts as innocent section of the community being most affected by the catastrophe.
This was written as a note to myself, for future reference, and action.