|Friday, 11 June 2004|
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Now the time has come for the people to treat the incurable doctors, nurses, para-medics and attendants who fall sick every now and then, mostly group by group and sector by sector.
Health workers from doctors down to the sanitary labourers are more sick than the sick whom they are paid with handsome salaries to attend on. Their disease which is highly infectious is spread by a germ which is only curable by a painful injection of increased salaries.
The funny thing is that this germ gets into another group and they begin to yell in pain clamouring for the injection of increased salaries. The patients from their sick-bed watch these health-workers screaming in pain, with a lot of fun and interest.
The only solution or the correct medicine for this peculiar disease is either to sack the workers who defy the essential services order because the people never sympathise with striking health workers, or privatise the entire health service and initiate an insurance scheme for the poor with the Government providing the necessary funds.
I have followed with keen interest the recont doings of Anura Bandaranaike. I am pleased as punch at his commitment to eradicate corruption in especially the BoI and other departments under his ministry.
The fantastic revelations he has made through the media shocks any citizen of this country rich or poor.
The manner in which these alleged men of learning and supposedly of high integrity had behaved in a country where 85 per cent of the population are fighting a losing battle against increasing cost of any and everything, be it food, clothing and/ or shelter is mind boggling. It appears that these men had only their self interest with a capital S and those of their flunkeys. Shame on you who stole pennies from the beggar bowl.
The men and women at the helm of then Government were spineless, mindless, boobs to allow this type of wanton wastage to continue.
MAJOR S. MERVYN DUNUWILLE
The UNP was elected to power in 2001 due to the vibrant grass root programme led by the late Gamini Athukorale and many others, who promoted the Premadasa concept of reaching out to the ordinary people.
Since the death of Gamini Athukorale the party top slots were allocated to Company Executives and personal friends who had no knowledge of grass root politics or for that matter even ordinary politics.
The new group during the past two years took the party away from the ordinary people and thereafter the UNP lost its direction. A new set of UNPers took control over the leadership and swayed it away locally from the people and even internationally from our traditional friends.
A certain Minister travelled to the USA almost on a monthly basis using some excuse to be away from his people spending hundreds of millions of Government resources.
The leadership failed to take any action against such Ministers or their kith and kin who had no respect for law and order and parliamentarians whose corruption was regularly exposed.
The result of the two years was the party losing miserably eventhough there was no conflict in the North, nor bombs-being exploded in other parts of the country. Speaking to many long standing members of the UNP, their grievance is that the leadership only gave ear to his Chairman and a few others around him.
The UNP needs to be purged from the top. A grass root programme to attract the ordinary people must be put in place.
The Party Secretary's position must be given to a Premadasa loyalist who understands the feelings of the ordinary people, at this present moment, if they wish to attract votes even for the Provincial Council elections.
The Colombo City which was a model for the UNP on good governance and strong leadership has also lost its image.
The good work of the previous administrators has been reversed, and we see, now a comical situation, where the Mayor who was never identified with the UNP in the past having bouts with his Deputy and his Commissioner and the party leadership continues to remain silent even when the councillors have appealed for discipline and action.
K. Lal Rodrigo
There was a Constitutional impasse or gridlock in the recent past. Or was it a deadlock? The situation is likely to continue in spite of the keenly contested election of 4-2.
The JRJ Constitution may if viewed narrowly have prevented the smooth functioning of the Government when the Parliament and the Executive Presidency are in the hands of two opposing parties or groupings. Is it a diabolical machination to perpetuate a stalemate situation, or is it a blessing in disguise?
The national question has been the plaything of almost all the political parties in the country. It is an issue that has to be sorted out. It has to be sorted out not by the Government in power alone, thus paving the way for the opposition to capitalize on it from the other side.
It is something that has to be taken out of the adversarial theatre and held aloft as an issue which has to be sorted out not only by consensus between the two major groupings or alliances, but also, with the active participation and meaningful input and satisfaction of the affected minorities.
The gridlock imposed by the Constitution which does not permit any group to get the clear 2/3rd majority to amend it has to be viewed as a rational basis for all the players to open their eyes and sit at a forum to iron out the differences and forge a meaningful solution. If viewed as a rational and humanitarian issue, it is not that mind-boggling.
What has to be accepted in the 1st place is the equality of each and every citizen in the country irrespective of their creed, caste, ethnicity, or any other differentiating or discriminating label. If this is accepted, sincerely, every effort should be made to ensure its practical realization. This calls for legal sanctions, legal restrictions and other Constitutional guarantees.
The basic idea embodied in article 29 of the 1948 Constitution could be further embellished to ensure that no legislation that endows an unfair advantage on a community should be permitted. In the same way, any disadvantageous provision that adversely affects any community should not be allowed.
What is required is the desire to live together and not the domination by a permanent numerical majority or an articulate or even armed minority.
There is no justification for dominance purely because of the preponderance of numbers. This calls for affirmative action with retrospective effect spread over a reasonable period.
The minorities should not be driven to take to force of arms to win their legitimate place in the policy.
Former should not crush the latter. The latter should be treated at par with the majority in the sense of equality as human beings and not as voting cattle that can never make or break Governments (a75-25 Syndrome).
In spite of the ever-escalating cost of living, the previous regime gave a thunderous blow to the elderly retired employees of State and private sector who depended upon the interest earned on fixed deposits at savings and commercial banks having deposited their EPF and ETF accruals on retirement.
Although the economic wizard in the then Cabinet, known to be reputed tutor by profession, who tried to give tuition on the subject of economic to entire nation on TV Channels showing numerous graphs and statistics, said that this step was taken for the improvement of economy of the country, no progress had been tangible in the sphere of economy.
All their spurious measures proved futile, thus making majority of the people fall from pan to hearth.
Only a few people who were making money by crooked means in association with corrupt politicians were immensely benefited by way of tax concessions and many other tolerances, while hapless segments were made to withstand the worst of deteriorating social and economic situation of the country.
Numerous humble appeals made from time to time in printed media to the respective ministers with the hope of getting some sort of relief for those elders who had been subject to cruel treatment were in vain.
We do not expect overnight solutions from present ruling party to all misdeeds and sins committed by the last Government.
Nevertheless, we hope they will sympathetically consider the sad plight of battered elderly citizens and bring some solace implementing a suitable scheme for them to receive a sufficient income to live a decent and trouble free life until the time of death.
R. D. P. GUNAWARDENA
Since two to three decades because of immigration of the middle class to outskirts of Colombo like Kadawatha, Gampaha, Homagama and Kaduwela there was a big demand for residential blocks in those areas.
A new land market has opened up with the land auctioneers buying lands, blocked-out and sold block-wise on auction at the site for the highest bidder.
This process developed and spread further away and to new districts like Kurunegala and Negombo. In those districts very fertile coconut lands are being blocked out along the main road network. All sorts of marketing strategies are used to sell these blocks to the public.
The inside story of most of the buyers is bit bitter. For a young family to have their own house is one of the main dreams to be fulfilled. The developer offers easy but expensive terms of buying. By paying 25 per cent of the value one can own a block of land and the balance is paid through a bank loan arranged by the developer upto five years mortgaging the said land.
As the current savings are spent for the initial payment and also it is compulsory to pay the loan instalment monthly there is no way to construct the dreamed house in the near future. That is why, we see most of these fancy named sites with so-called developed bare lands with no houses.
Though the buyer's dream has not fulfilled the developer's dream is fulfilled. They buy the land at a bargaining price on an acre basis (wholesale) and sell on perch basis (retail) at a very high price with various other charges.
I agree that the natural resources should shift from one economic activity to the other depending on the society's new demands. But it should utilized properly and efficiently better than the previous use for the social and economic welfare of the people.
A more fruitful solution to the semi-urban and rural housing problem is to have housing schemes by the developers instead of this partial development leading to disastrous end with socio-economic problems to the buyer.
If one buys a new house instead of a bare land his family can occupy it and the utility of money spent is realized immediately with the investment. Any rent paid now is saved and with one housing loan he/she can have both land and a house together.
The houses are of standard plans and a new community established at the site with necessary infrastructure within a short period. The developer can construct the houses on bulk at a lower cost and the development is completed at once rather than dragging for years.
Then why not the real estate developers adapt this new strategy (as in metropolis) in semi-urban and rural areas giving up the policy of selling blocks of land but new houses with a home garden.
Produced by Lake House