The management of Dipped Products Plc (DPL), which owns the Venigros glove factory in Weliweriya today fumed at authorities for not taking relevant steps to reopen their plant despite test results of investigations conducted by three key independent government bodies confirming the plant exonerated for drinking water contamination.
Expressing grave concerns over the prolonged closure, DPL Managing Director, Dr. Mahesha Ranasoma said test results into pH of a well water sample measured in the area and released by the Water Board on 30th August, Government Analyst’s Department on 13th August and the Central Environment Authority on 29th August have collectively proved the factory was not responsible for low pH in the wells or is responsible for any other form of contamination of the wells.
“Apart from that factory effluent tested quarterly confirm compliance whilst scientific evidence shows that the area in which our factory is located has significant extents of low pH,” he highlighted.
Noting that due to the factory closure, the loss of foreign exchange into the country had amounted to approximately Rs. 300 million per month with the company loss in the last four months running into more than Rs. 1 billion, Ranasoma lamented that the loss will grow exponentially as many customer orders are consolidated with other factories.
Dipped Products is said to produce five percent of the world's non-medical rubber gloves with the Weliweriya factory producing 45 percent of its output.
“As a result of this issue the company’s image/goodwill built upon over 36 years has been severely tarnished. Our customers have been compelled to seek supplies from China, Indonesia and Thailand,” DPL MD noted. When asked whether the management had contingency plans to relocate the factory if their calls to reopen are not met by authorities, the Managing Director replied in the negative. “Relocation is not an easy thing.
Considering the time frame, cost involved and other planning that is needed in shifting to a new location, it is not a viable choice,” he said questioning what the purpose will be to have a factory set up in few years time, a period when their loyal customers would have moved to new suppliers. Ranasoma further added that presently they are unable to cope with the demand due to the prolonged closure of the factory calling for an early solution to the issue. “We engaged stakeholders ethically and responsibly.
Yet our case has not being fairly heard with a sense of urgency. Keeping the factory closed is a national tragedy or even equal to a crime,” Ranasoma said in digust. The press conference held at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo was also attended by Hayleys Chairman, Mohan Pandithage and other dignitaries which included former Director Economic Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy.