Corruption plagues public service | Daily News

Corruption plagues public service


The duty of the people appointed to the public service is to attend to the needs of the people in the country irrespective of whether they are the hoi polloi on the breadline, the petite bourgeoisie, the sandwich class or squeezed middle class, the middle class or the upper-class. As soon as they assume duties they become ‘attendants’ deployed to provide a service. To render a service they must pay attention to the need of the people. It concisely means to apply one’s mind, consideration and care over them. The positions offered to them are to serve the people and the emoluments offered are to compensate in return for their survival.

The Public Service is usually known to us a secretarial service sending files back and forth and posting people from pillar to post by officious Public Servants with straight faces. We haven’t seen anything much is being done outside their offices. If they do we will not have unresolved issues like environment pollution, floods, landslides, epidemics, a mishandled and mismanaged pubic transporting system often going out of gear and hazardous garbage disposals to describe several out of many obstacles that hamper proper living.

The outdoor services are burdensome because the department of people in state service (the sedentary class) have to go to the people and then to the villages or to the streets as the case may be. Undoubtedly, it’s tiresome if not toilsome. ‘Field Work’ is suitable for stout hearted people who can do hard work, shoulder laborious tasks, bear growing pains and withstand elements outside offices. Field officers have to undergo severe hardships to perform duties. This kind of job is not for the weakling who will definitely neglect duties. The people who provide communal facilities have to commingle with the body of people whom they are expected to serve. Therefore, it is for a class of healthy enthusiastic people with a flair for it.

Peoples’ relationship with the government

There are poisoned fruits for sale in the open market. The consumer is aware of this but, the relevant authorities are unaware of this. A consumer some time ago telephoned the health ministry and complained about the availability of poisoned fruits in the market. The person who answered the call said “nobody has brought it to our notice, we will look into it” and dropped the receiver. The caller only got a thunder strike on his eardrum when the receiver fell to rest. A similar answer was given by a female Divisional Secretary to the media when they questioned about some time ago amidst a peoples’ demonstration in front of her office for not repairing their road, she answered with this bon mot “nobody brought it to my notice”.

But, she did not know why she was there for, and that man too. This kind of officious figures in Public Service create a misunderstanding between the people and the people whom they elected to office and, this morally wrong conduct in their part gradually creates a declivity in the peoples’ relationship with the government and, at last, it becomes unpopular. Therefore, the government must beware of these bunglers.

The opinion of the consumer is that unless the Consumer Affairs Authority and the local bodies in partnership inspect shelves indoors, stalls outdoors regularly, not pro tem, and prefer deterrent action against stop at nothing traders and vendors prone to this corrupt practice, the sale of fruits dipped in poisonous chemicals cannot be prevented. Fruit poisoning begun during the past decade could have been prevented if the authorities concerned had looked into and attended to regularly. As they overlooked, this practice has put down roots with the blessings of corrupt politicians, a hazardous situation that has to be eliminated at any cost. Even belatedly, if an operation could be launched and continued without interruption and disruption halfway, the consumer will appreciate it as a blessing for the improvement of human welfare.

Financial hardships

The health authorities say that we must consume at least 200 grams of fruits every day in addition to usual food. But, from here can we get the fruits the authorities are talking about? The infants, growing children, patients, valetudinarians, convalescents and those in declining years are deprived of an extremely essential health food item. This is presently a cause célèbre in the country and the vexed question that vex the consumer without a solution.

The raw, matured and ripe fruits have a pleasant smell. This odoriferous smell is not in the fruits available with the present day fruiterers anywhere in this country. We have instead rotten stuff in huge quantities everywhere. There is no life in those to nourish us. Those are deadwood killed by poisonous chemicals sprayed on to or injected into.

Today, owing to financial hardships they experience, the land owners in the rural areas (not the large scale orchards growers for manufacturing purposes) are in an extreme haste to give their fruitful trees on lease to vendors before they are ripe. The vendors pluck the immature fruits and spray chemicals.

The following morning those are ripe fruits on stalls ready for sale and consumption. Immediately afterwards begins black dots to appear in those and scatter all over. Those are the incurable wounds created by the poisonous chemicals sprayed on the fruits. Simultaneously the fruit begins to decay and putrefy. When the outer layer of a banana is removed the wounds sustained owing to chemical application a visible. It indicates that the chemical is absorbed by the pulp. It’s ditto when a papaw is cut.

When a mango is cut and tasted, it is watery in taste. When a pineapple is cut it is hard as rock. How to bite? Lorry loads of immature avocados are put on sale. People buy those but they cannot eat because those fruits never ripe. There is no juice in imported yellowish oranges. Apples are dried. Grapes are like deflated balloons. None of these fruits can be kept for the next day. We have to eat whatever possible on the same day of purchase and throw the rest of it, if not, discoloured juicy stuff smelling foul begins to ooze out from the putrid fruits.

Poisoned rotten fruits

The only fruit which has so far escaped the poisoner vender is ‘Rambutan’ as its harvest could be reaped only when ripe on trees. Actually, those fresh fruits are being presented to us mostly by the innocent fair-sex of the villages around us annually with their greetings for the season conveyed to us via their enticing smiles. Until then we seasonally hear the sounds of “Takaya Wadena Malwane”.

Furthermore, fruits are displayed under the scorching sun exposed to the elements in the open air on stalls placed above drains where contaminated water and clogged muck breed worms, flies and mosquitoes.

The stinking smell emanating from underneath the stalls is causing nausea. If this is the environment in which the fruits are kept for sale for days, the fruits cannot retain a quality. It begins to fester and then stink.

Today, we have in this country perished fruits turned pathogenic. If so, how can the citizen eat fresh fruits and where can the citizen go for the so-called nourishing fresh fruits?

This is a grave situation that we must arrest forthwith. As poisoned rotten fruits are sold under unhygienic conditions, the consumer is compelled to abstain from consuming fruits as those who consume such fruits fall sick and those diseases cannot be diagnosed. As such, the entire process of growing to plucking, packing to distribution and proper stacking, preservation and protection of the fruits until the reach of the consumer must be regularized.

A procedure has to come under a Regulator. The Regulator must be the Divisional Secretary. The Grama Niladari must deputize.

The small scale orchard growers and lands in the rural areas (not the large scale orchard growers for manufacturing purposes) where fruit trees are available or grown must be registered division wise with the Regulator through the Grama Niladari with a declaration from the landlord. It should be renewed annually. Each registered tree must bear an identification number affixed to it. A register of such people, acreages, varieties and number of trees with ages must be maintained by the Regulator after an enumeration. A copy of the register must be available with the Grama Niladari who deputize the Regulator. The register should be updated from time to time. In this, the involvement of the Agricultural Development and Research Officers is also necessary.

Public Health Inspectors

The owners of these trees should be barred from selling immature fruits. The sanction of the Regulator must be obtained through the Grama Niladari to pluck fruits on maturity if such plucked fruits are intended for sale. This will ensure that immature fruits are not sold. The vendors must be able to divulge the names and addressed of the persons from whom the fruits were purchased and substantiate with documentary evidence. Whilst the application of chemicals on fruits to ripen must be banned, if such fruits are found on stalls the foxy vendors responsible must be taken to task. For this purpose, the Public Health Inspectors of the division must represent the Regulator with Officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority.

The matured fruits will ripe within few days when kept spread on manger. Raw bananas will ripe in two days when buried covered with some Kappetiya leaves and smoked by burning coconut fibre or pieces of husks as customarily done. It is only necessary to sprinkle some water after unearthing on the second day. So, chemicals need not be applied.

The felling of fruit trees without the permission of the Regulator must be forbidden like jak and coconut like species. If it becomes necessary to remove such trees, permission of the Regulator has to be sought with acceptable reasons for such felling through the Grama Niladari who will examine such tree or trees before making recommendations to the Regulator in favour or in disfavour of the application. While doing so they can be encouraged to ‘Grow More Fruit Trees’ by providing them with plants too.

A proposal of this nature could be seen as impracticable, ludicrous and jeered at as a rigmarole and the proposer also could be seen as a damn fool or a returnee from Angoda and face basement in the first instance or become a laughing stock. Even under possible degrading circumstances I believe that there remains an obligation with a responsible citizen to draw the urgent attention of the relevant authorities by making complaints and offering useful proposals to eliminate the disinterest shown over this issue in the best interests of the populace.

However, if well matured and healthy fruits must come direct from the trees there is no alternative but to resort to a similar method immediately and apply rigidly. It will ensure the free flow of fresh fruits to the market if carried into effect effectively; If this trend is further overlooked restorative fruits will never reach the commonalty. 


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