Question of governance
Whatever the might of the State or its law enforcement
agencies there are still some elements in society that defy the
law in public with impunity. Despite the rhetoric of political
bigwigs and higher officials this state of affairs continues
exposing the impotence of both.
To take an example, both the central government and the
provincial administrations have been trying without success to
get private omnibus operators to issue tickets to passengers.
Despite public notices even to punish the passengers for
ticket-less travel (How on earth they are to produce tickets
when they do not get any is a question!) no legal action has
been taken against offending operators.
It is a mystery why the law is not applied to these
Could it be the fear of strong arm tactics of wild cat
strikes or any other influence from powers that be? The
passengers are the hapless victims as always. They would not be
able even to claim compensation in case of accident.
Similarly, the overwhelming majority of bakery owners has
been selling and is still selling underweight bread. A normal
loaf of bread is usually found to weigh much less than the
stipulated 450 gm. Very often it weighs around 375 gm. Like the
offending private bus operators they also flout the law openly
and with impunity.
The public suffering the rise in cost of living in silence
deserve a better deal. The low income earners depend more on
bread and wheat flour as alternatives are more expensive. In the
estate sector the workers who toil in the estates feed mainly on
bread and wheat flour preparations such as rotti. Thus bakery
owners cheat mostly the poorest of the poor. Since they are
numerically more the profits of the bakery owners come mainly by
squeezing the poor and the middle classes.
The government must intervene to stop this theft from the
pockets of the poor. It is not enough to extol the virtues of
giving up the consumption of wheat flour products and appeal to
the patriotic feelings by calling for a boycott of 'American
It is also seen that very often the price increases and fare
increases are disproportionate. Besides these entrepreneurs
rarely supply a satisfactory service. Private omnibus operators,
for example, are a law unto themselves. They at times convert
the roads to racing tracks, flout every traffic rule in the
book, overload excessively and are the most discourteous to the
The list of offenders could be extended further and perhaps
ad infinitum. It is a case of might is right. It is time that
law enforcement officials as well as the administration begin to
govern in earnest, for surely this is a case of bad governance.
It has the potential to cause public disenchantment with law and
order and the result would be anarchy.
Needed a strategy
Commonwealth Games Silver medalist Chintana Vidanage
has made a fervent appeal for sponsors to develop the game of
The appeal underscores the fact that much attention has not
been given to this sport which has a bright prospect in the
international arena. Chintana's case is not a solitary one.
Many budding sportsmen and sportswomen would have achieved
greater heights if given proper attention, care, training and
other facilities. Much more than presenting monetary rewards and
luxury vehicles to successful sportsmen and sportswomen are
This also underscores the fact that there is no strategy for
the development of sports. While developing all sports it is
necessary to give special encouragement and facilities to sports
and sporting stars that have a bright future in selected fields.
Unfortunately the attention and resources that are given to
cricket are denied to other sports such as cycling,
weightlifting, boxing and athletics which could be developed
with comparatively less expenditure.
Even volleyball, netball and football fall to the same
category. The fact that it is in athletics that Sri Lanka could
scale Olympian heights so far should not be forgotten.