Consequent to the very recent increase in the price of flour, the
price of a loaf of bread has again been increased by Rs 3 by the bakery
owners as advised by the Bakery Owners’ Association.
It is high time the Minister of Co-operatives and Internal Trade and
the Consumer Affairs Authority intervene and fix a uniform price for a
normal loaf of bread of 450 grams without allowing unscrupulous bakery
owners to exploit consumers by selling bread with different wights and
It is encouraging to see police officers at junctions controlling
traffic with white arm bands during day time, which is new born of late.
Equally it would be both helpful if the police use reflective and
effective yellow waistcoats (such as those worn by the British cop in
the picture) to be seen at night.
At present, added to inadequately lit and completely dark roads,
traffic police are taking enormous risks when they try to direct
traffic; regrettably it is impossible to see a traffic police officer
trying his best to lessen traffic congestion taking his life into his
hands by standing in pitched dark street junctions especially when full
head beams of motor cars blind motorists. Junctions opposite Welikada
police station on parliament road are living examples.
The type of waistcoats worn by many Sri Lankan police are of inferior
quality where neither the yellow jacket nor the faded white line is
hardly visible which does not help either the officers on duty at night
or the motorists.
Nowadays we often hear mothers selling their children for a few
rupees; and what happens to them? they are taken into custody, as if
that will solve the problem.
We must ask ourselves why are they selling their babies? The
relationship between the mother and child is a special one. We doctors
know that often even a raped mother hates to part with her baby however
much she may abhor the fact that she was forced to have this baby.
So if a mother sells her baby it is certainly not because of money
alone. (On the other hand the fathers will often sell the babies for a
song- they don’t have the same emotional attachment like the mother.) It
is only when they are at the end of their tether that the mothers go for
this ultimate decision.
What are the common reasons? Often the father deserts the wife with
the child, or is a drunkard who does not provide for the family. And if
the mother cannot earn a decent living- which is very difficult if she
has a breast feeding child, what can she do? Many a time it is in cases
of marriages after a love affair that the man abandons the family and
then the girl has no other relatives to fall back on. Sometime it is
after the death of the husband and when the girl has no family to call
her own this happens.
Whatever happens the mother decides to sell the child only as a last
resort. So one may ask why does not she gives the child to an orphanage?
Most orphanages will not take them without the father’s death
certificate. Besides even in the best of the orphanages they are just
orphans they are at the mercy of the matrons who come and go, who are
just employees. They can never give the love and care that the mothers
And Why not give the child for adoption? Because the adoption
procedures are too long and tedious. And often they don’t even know how
to. What we see in the papers is just the tip of the huge iceberg. There
are umpteen number of girls out there who cannot afford to look after
their children. And they have no one to turn to. either they have to
start begging or turn to the oldest profession. The only alternative is
to sell the baby so that they can carry on with their lives.
Instead of finding fault with them we must empathize with them ,
identify such mothers and do something to empower them. May be the State
must provide with free crŠche - childcare centers. May be they all are
employed in common places like a factory where the child care is part of
the system. Instead of sorting the problem, taking them into custody
just give them a stigma and cause more frustration. It is true the
social service department provides them with some counselling and
vocational training, but that is closing the stable door after the horse
has escaped, after the damage is done.
We must find ways to prevent the mothers from committing the ultimate
sacrifice of giving away their children for the price of a few meals.
Next to rice, Maize (Bada Iringu in Sinhala) is the most widespread
food crop in the world. This cereal was first grown in Central America
and the northern part of South America.
It was the staple food of the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of South
America, two very advanced societies in the Aemrican continent before
Columbus discovered America. In America it is called corn and most
Americans love to eat this corn cob boiled or grilled.
Most African countries use the flour (powdered form of maize) as
their staple food. They make a pulp out of it using water and a little
oil, which is very similar to our kurahan thalapa) and eat it with a
meat curry. I still cannot understand why we cannot make flour from Bada
Iringu and prepare bread. At least the Agriculture Researchers should
experiment to see whether this can be a substitute for whet flour.
Presently Dry Zone farmers are cultivating maize on a large-scale, and
they are unable to get a decent price for their product.
So let us see bread made out of maize flour in the near future and
save billions of Rupees spent for wheat flour.