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Health Ministry firm on 'fingerprints'

COLOMBO: Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said his Ministry would not withdraw the newly introduced fingerprint machines for health workers on any grounds but was willing to provide solutions to the problems faced by them, when reporting to work.

A Ministry spokesman said, the Minister had taken this decision after discussions with Samastha Seva Suva Seva Sangamaya officials and the All Island Health Service Trade Union Alliance convenor, Saman Rathnapriya.

The reasons by trade unions against introducing fingerprint machines are varied and baseless. According to trade unions, the introduction of new fingerprint machines cause a deviation in the health sector and there is a possibility of using fingerprints for crimes, the spokesman said.

"They had also pointed out that the rays emitted by the machines cause health problems. This was dismissed by a Supreme Court judgement," he said.

Dismissing these facts, de Silva pointed out that if those accusations are true, all State sector workers should protest against these machines.

"If workers have difficulties of reporting to work on time, their shifts can be adjusted. Arrangements will be made to provide more SLTB and private buses to make it easier for the workers", the Minister said.

De Silva said a committee will be appointed to look into any other issues faced by health workers and the first meeting will be held on June 4. The Trade Union Alliance agreed with this arrangement.

De Silva told the trade unions, the main objective of introducing the fingerprint machines is to streamline the health sector to ensure a better healthcare service to the public and there is no intention to create problems for the workers. "Since the Government has taken the decision this system cannot be withdrawn," he said.

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