Dipped Products PLC (DPL), a top glove exporter linked with the contentious water contamination issue in Rathupaswala yesterday accused authorities including the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and the Health Ministry, for failing to clear the misconception among the villagers concerning their non-involvement in water pollution that has eventually led to a halt in company operations.
Dipped Products PLC Managing Director Dr. Mahesh Ranasoma speaking at a media briefing yesterday said, following the initial misconception of the factory being responsible for the low pH levels in the area’s water sources, various tests were carried out by the government analyst, Water Supply and Drainage Board and Central Environmental Authority, and all specified that no clear evidence was present to determine a link between the contamination and the factory’s effluent releases.
“Once our position was cleared, we made repeated requests to t he Board of Investment, Water Supply and Drainage Board, Health Ministry and the Gampaha GA to issue statements that would clear the misconception regarding our involvement, but was unsuccessful. As a result, our repeated attempts to talk to the villagers and clear the misunderstandings have failed, leading to a halt in our production process,” Dr. Ranasoma explained.
According to him, Dipped Products has incurred a loss of approximately Rs. 1 billion during the past four months due to the production halt. The recently released first half (1H14) financial accounts of the company showed a 6 percent dip in revenue in the hand protection product segment.
“Our factory accounts for up to 1 percent of Sri Lanka’s total export revenue and apart from the in-house staff, over 6000 families are supported by factory operations and they are all facing immense difficulties due to the abrupt stoppage of operations. Moreover, the rubber manufacturers have also been severely impacted owing to the halt in our productions since we no longer purchase raw material from them,” he pointed out.
Hayleys Chair man Mohan Pandithage who also expressed his views at the media briefing said they are still trying their best to reach an amicable solution and facilitate the factory reopening.
“We were informed that we could relocate the factory to Biyagama. But we do not wish to relocate as it would incur heavy costs on the company. Also, by the time we complete the relocation, we would have lost all our clients and it all would have been for nothing,” he said adding that despite the many invitations received from Malaysia to move operations there, they would try out all other options to work out a solution in Sri Lanka.
A member of Hayley’s Group, Dipped Products has 7 manufacturing subsidiaries in Sri Lanka, a medical glove manufacturing company in Thailand and a marketing company based in Italy.
Speaking further Pandithage said he is planning to meet the President, the Defense Secretary, Board of Investments Chair man and the Economic Development Minister for a discussion on reopening the factory.