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Dead gem miners to be honored

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Twenty one gem miners who died due to accidents at gem mines will be felicitated with an honorary title by the National Organization of Gem Mining Workers. The organization’s General Secretary Swarna Mallikarachchi told The Nation, “The event will be held in May or June and will felicitate twenty one miners, including the four that were killed on April 8, and the families will be assisted financially, especially with regard to the children’s education.”

The event was to be held on April 9, but the organization decided to postpone the event following the death of four miners. Mallikarachchi also said that the funding for the event and program to assist families financially is provided by the gem businessmen of the area who are also part of the organization. However, other methods of collecting funds will also be adopted as the activities of the organization progress.

Following a request to send details on industry workers, Mallikarachchi said they continue to receive information. However, he added that they have to study the information before felicitating the workers or providing financial assistance to their families.
When asked what steps are being taken to ensure the safety of miners and also if families will be provided with aid, Member of Parliament for the Rathnapura District and the Minister of Foreign Employement Thalatha Athukorala said can’t comment because she wasn’t involved with the gem miners.

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