A not so young, local and foreign educated business person, said that
in Lanka old fashioned capitalist and old socialist ideas and
unnecessary nationalism prevailed.
We should, like a shooting star in the new 'yes we can age' ushered
by Obama, consider the offer from the Maldivian President who is on the
look out for a land or country.
The Maldivians will soon be engulfed by, not as present by tourists
and dollars but by the sea.
The Maldives has a very small population, but, billions of dollars
they would bring to Sri Lanka.
Do we really want to give the arid under populated Eastern province
of this little country for Maldivian settlements?
The arguments presented were;
1. We do not have to take huge loans, as they would provide
2. The Maldivian population is about 100,000 (Not correct, we hear it
is around 300,000)
3. We could become the leading tourist hub in South Asia. (Will the
foreigners who flock to the Maldives for skin diving, surfing find the
same conditions here?)
4. Maldivians do not work. (80 per cent of the workers are Sri
Lankan, Indian or Bangladeshis) and we would have plenty of
tourist-oriented jobs hence no unemployment.
5. Maldivians were Lankans long ago.
6. Dubai and Singapore - They are spinning ahead because of the money
they have for investment.
We do not agree with these views but would like to know what other
Sri Lankans think.
Do we want to sell our way of life for money?
We were scornfully laughed at when we opposed these views.
Do the ordinary people of Lanka think like this?
We have to congratulate the Government for taking prompt action
against the unscrupulous organisations or associations that award
degrees or honorary titles to various unsuspecting innocent persons. It
has become a joke to award degrees or even doctorates freely.
Hither to the practice was to award degrees to those who have passed
the stipulated exams.
Also honorary degrees were awarded to prominent persons who have done
a noble service to the nation in one of the branches of valuable
pursuits, by legal universities.
But nowadays there are several bogus degree factories found in
various parts of the country. It is a lucrative business rather than a
One of my friends received a letter from an organisation somewhere
close to Gampaha, saying that he was selected to award a honorary title
and requested him to send two money orders - one for Rs. 5,000 and
another for Rs. 2,500 and he was asked to be present on an appointed
date and a place to receive his certificate. This clearly shows the
motive of those who run these organisations or associations.
There is no wonder in a country where people deposit millions in
bogus banks and when found that they are cheated, appeal to the
Government for redress, such tricksters are thriving.
The same trick is being played on gullible people who either can't or
not worried to study and get a degree from a legal university and who
think that everything can be done with money, fall a prey to these
We know several people who have bought such degree certificates or
Government must expedite the actions against these unscrupulous
persons or organisations, before it goes out of control or proportions.
I refer to the term 'Breaking news' spotlighted by reader CR of
Wattala commenting on this caption often quoted by newsreaders, not only
on the electronic media but sometimes in the average media, too.
Personally, I wonder, whether a better term would be 'news flash'.
If I remember right, some years ago it would have been either on the
Manchester Guardian (now Guardian) or the British Film Institutes' Sight
and Sound had a term many years ago as 'Flaming news'.
Nevertheless, Breaking News is a fanciful term which reminds me of a
certain sequence of Bob Hope in the film 'The Court Jester', when he
furiously asks a press hound have you come for a pressbreak?
Somehow 'breaking news' sounds too fastidious.
Many (not all) road sides are lined with heaps of garbage that have
been rotting for days and are smelling. The Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia
Municipal Council (DMMC) is in the immediate vicinity of the country's
Capital Colombo and has the responsibility of strategy on a national
The collection of garbage is done in house by the DMMC workers and
vehicles. There aren't enough vehicles in good condition. The old
vehicles frequently break down, they have not been served regularly and
look very run down. When there are vehicle breakdowns it takes weeks to
get them back on the roads. If the DMMC has no funds to buy vehicles
outright, it should lease out vehicles through a leasing company.
The workers' output is poor. When they are at work they do the
collections especially when given santhosams monthly. The problem is
that they start work early and finish early - hardly three hours of real
work each day. They are not disciplined as the engineers are frightened
to discipline them.
The DMMC has failed to contract out the garbage clearing services. If
this is done all of the above shortcomings will be overcome. Of course,
it will cost money and the payments to a contractor will be for some in
management, an eyesore. This is misleading. The management does not
realise that, the money squandered on unproductive in house labour and
equipment, the cost of idle time, and the cost of environmental damages
caused by the inefficient service is less noticeable, but would exceed
the cost of contracting out and have an effective team of supervising
engineers to monitor the contractors continuously.
Some interested parties including Councillors, would push for many
smalltime contractors instead of two high capability contractors, as a
multiplicity of contractors would provide more opportunities for
patronage and money making. Small time contractors would be poor
performers and use their connections within the management to sabotage
proper supervision and get their payments for poor work done. The
contractors should be changed not earlier than every five years, so that
they would have an incentive to tender for the garbage collection
service. The DMMC management should with a view to improve the
effectiveness of the outsourcing, consult with other local authorities
which have outsourced the service already. Once the contractor delivers
the service it should have the assurance the fees would be paid promptly
by DMMC. Many would be effective contractors, are unlikely to tender as
the local authorities have a reputation for serious delays in payments.
The DMMC must find land on to which the contractor can unload the
garbage on a 24x7 hour basis. DMMC must also introduce the system of
ratepayers using two bags - one for non organic (glass, plastic, cloth
etc.) items and the other for organic (food waste etc). Start this first
in a limited pilot area. The first is to be collected say weekly on a
set day, and the other every other day except for eating places which
should be required to pay a special garbage fee, based on floor area
where food is consumed. The DMMC sanitary inspectors accompanied by a
policeman must oversee the places where much garbage is thrown and
charge the offenders in court. Perhaps the law must be changed to permit
spot fines like for motor vehicle traffic offences.
TV is undoubtedly the most effective media to get the garbage message
across to the people. More TV publicity is needed for the rules relating
to garbage disposal and collection and obligations of city dwellers to
their community, the State and private TV organisations should offer
reduced rates for advertisers during such publicity programmes at
popular times and also have runners (advertisement strips) during other
popular programmes. Advertisers of products should sponsor these
programmes and runners as part of their corporate social responsibility.
The Minister of Environment should assist local authorities by
introducing legislation to make law enforcement rapid and simple.
Mayor please start on this - action is long overdue. Now the
ratepayers object to higher rates and trade licences as the DMMC service
is poor. Improve the service and then increase the charges - break the
vicious circle and move forward.
Certain Buddhist religious places in India which are maintained by
the Indian Archaeological Department charge a levy as entrance fee. Most
of these places are concentrated in Bihar an Uttar Pradesh where major
part of the Buddha's life was spent.
Some of these places are Isipathanaramaya and Sarnath museum in
Varnasi, Jethavanaramaya of Savath Nuwara, ruins of Nalanda Buddhist
University and Asoka Pillar at Vaisale.
The entrance fee that had been charged from visitors of these places
had been 100 Indian rupees. Since of late, this levy has been reduced to
5 Indian rupees by the intervention of our President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
This reduction of entrance fee by the Indian Government is a
encouragement and assistance to Lankan pilgrims who participate are
generally poor. Therefore, I take this opportunity to thank the
President and his Secretary Lalith C. Weeratunga on behalf of the poor
pilgrims of Sri Lanka.