By I. P. C. MENDIS
The Chinese, despite their ideology, do sometimes take Western thoughts seriously.- ” Waste not, want not”. ! A peep into the internet will reveal how the Chinese convert human waste into “Black Gold” ! As late as 2017, 85% of human waste or “night soil” as it is commonly known ,was converted into fertiliser in rural China. The miilions of livestock, including pigs and cattle, are said to contribute their mite to the final product. And, indeed, the final product by whatever name you chose to call it _ is marketed as “Organic Fertiiser”. !. Indeed,, we Sri Lankans have to thank the benevolent Chinese then (and now) for coming to our rescue and, of course, our then UNP Minister of Commerce and Trade, the late R.G. Senanayake for the bold “gate-crash” into forbidden territory, the Conmmunis world notwithstanding strong ties with the Western Imperialist set-up the UNP regime had at the time, by entering into the Rubber-Rice Agreement which kept the Sri Lankan nation fed… so to speak, for a, year and a day, till the late Prime Minister, the SWRDB sealed the shaky friendship with diplomatic ties. THe Rice Ration Book became a worthy negotiable document
Indeed, it seems an irony of fate that decades later, a succeeding Sri Lankan regime had to turn down a consignment of “organic fertiliser” from China on the score of bacterial infection in the context of our own consumption decades ago of rice grown in China porbably very much fertilised by the well-known variety of Chinese “organic fertiliser” received with great acceptance and still remembered with great gratitude !.
The Chinese are still our close friends and continue to support us economically and internationally when certain others seek to play double games. It is in the course of her own natural course of governance that they have to voice their concern over a trade issue concerning the quality of fertiliser sought to be delivered and we have to understand that. However, the fact that we are in an unenviable situation economically and otherwise is not a situation which should open us up for arm-twisting or blackmail, calling into question the integrity and verdict of our own respected outfit, the Natiional Plant Protection outfit that is in charge of such matters. The Chinese themselves need to realise that our leanings on them have already irked the Western world, India and Japan, and they are mature enough to understand the consequences of any antagonistic stand by them against Sri Lanka, They need to appreciate that the legal authority lies with such outfit and as buyers Sri Lanka calls the tune. Our legal authorities need not be and should not be subject to outside oversight or interference.Such a situation will be a very bad precedent embarrassing the standing of the local authority. The two State Ministers should never have acquiesced.and the government needs to stand firm. The visit by two State Ministers to the Chinese Mission in Sri Lanka over a dispute on a trade issue leaves a bad taste in the mouth and the stance taken by the Chinese government on the said issue, the antics reported to have been resorted to by the vessel , the samples not being tested earlier, etc., are not matters that can be condoned or made short shrift of considering the all-important fact of the sovereignty of the nation. Also, several questions remain unanswered, such as the date of the Cabinet decision, the date the LOC was opened, the procedures followed, etc. The Chinese, an all-powerful nation, should be ashamed not to realise the implications and the complications of questioning the integrity and validity of the findings of the National Plant Protection arm of the government, which has the final say. Given the background and history of the fertiliser manufacturing processes in China, there lies some chance of contamination and a second consignment would not arise for the simple reason that the farmers or the end-user is now prejudiced or biased and could not be compelled to use it at any cost. It will be throwing good money after bad for the sake of possible goodwill, with the government holding the baby and the already embattered taxpayer being whipped further and commission agents laughing all the way. Let us put our foot down for once and save our dignity!
Send them back to school!
We are not talking about our children going back to school but about the request made by the Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella to allow parliamentarians to enrol in the Sri Lankan Law College, or any other university, to further their studies. How about the basic qualification to enter university? Talking about the basic qualification we remember there was a talk some time ago about some members who have not got through even their GCE (O)Level, a bare minimum qualification, required even for a peon in a recognised organisation or in government services. We request the Chief Opposition Whip to request, on behalf of these members, to allow them to go back to school, no matter how old they are.
We remember one SAARC member country brought in a regulation saying that all those who come forward to contest a seat in the parliament should possess a university degree and at the submission of nomination the officials detected that nearly 20% of the certificates were fake. Anyway, we are proud that such things are extremely rare in our country.
Finally, I urge Kiriella to include schools, too, for MPs, who need the basic qualifications for university admission.
S. H. MOULANA
Compensate victims of gas explosions
There is no shortage of hot topics for the media these days, the latest being the unusual occurrence of gas related accidents. Any ordinary person would understand that the present series of accidents are certainly due to the release of newly arrived consignment of gas cylinders whose composition ratio of propane and butane has been altered to maximise profits.
The responsible institutions and authorities as well as some ambidextrous politicians are defending the culprits who deny any change in the gas composition. The special committee appointed by the President to investigate into the matter, seem biased. The other day the public saw (through the TV news footages) that these so-called experts were trying to bully the innocent victims of these accidents, accusing them of the use of worn out hoses and regulators as the main reason for the incidents. Why the hell can’t they figure out the fact that these accidents are all due to the use of the newly bought wrongly filled cylinders. A committee of this nature is useless if its aim is to serve the vested interests. Instead of blaming the victims, one compulsory question they should ask is if the cylinder is newly bought or an old one. It is sad that this Kekille committee of experts is also trying to put the blame on the innocent consumer and defend the businessman.
All that the government should do at this critical hour is to introduce a mechanism to collect the data of the victims of these explosions and pay due compensation to them forthwith at the expense of the concerned gas company. The ministry in charge should also issue an urgent order to the company to recall the return of all these defective gas cylinders distributed to all districts and take immediate action for refilling them with the correct prescription of the chemical composition and issue with a new label giving all required instructions. In the meantime, the Consumer Protection Authority must ensure that accessories like the hoses and regulators, conforming to the SLS standards, are available in the market at least from now on for the safety of the consumers.
M. B. Navarathne
Banks make a killing at depositors’ expense
The motive of the government decision to lower the interest rates of deposits was predominantly to engross the banks to lend at lower interest rates for entrepreneurs to boost the economy of the country which is in dire straits. However, would this proposal prove productive?
Owing to this absurd stunt senior citizens and pensioners have been left high and dry high and dry, resulting in unprecedented agony and anguish. Many victims have highlighted their grievances on behalf of the distraught senior citizens and pensioners. This much spoken of government’s harsh decision to lower interest rates has made the lives of senior citizen’s and pensioners miserable with the escalating high cost of living, skyrocketing cost of medical expenses, etc. It is pertinent to mention that monthly interest rates on fixed deposits, which they mostly rely upon, have been reduced to alarmingly low 4% and 5 % which has added to the woes already the senior citizens face.
All senior citizens who are not receiving or entitled for a pension, depend solely on monthly fixed deposit interest as the regular source of income for their living. As a result of lowering interest rates of deposits, their plans have all been shattered causing them to be wondering how to make ends meet.At this dire juncture, the intervention of the President is needed to revoke this unreasonable decision of lowering the interest rates of deposits.
The only redress the senior folk benefits is by the Central Bank’s special scheme of 15% interest for senior citizens. However, in this too the senior citizens have been slapped and battered with a Rs 1.5 million ceiling.
In comparison to the reduction of interest rates of deposits, if one takes into account the number of loans granted to entrepreneurs at lower interest rates the answer would be very negligible, particularly as the bank’s do not take risks to lend to entrepreneurs whom they believe to have projects not viable. The banks of course, would show enhanced profits at the end of the year as they have paid the depositors lower interest rates which reflects as plus mark for their balance sheets. This is a blessing in disguise for the management of banks at the receiving end of impoverished pensioners and senior citizens.
In the above contest the intervention of the President Gotabaya Rajapakse is most needed to bring about redress to ‘distressed” senior citizens and pensioners
Countrywide power outage act of sabotage, claim TU, officials
ESOFT Metro Campus holds Graduation Ceremony 2021
Mendis and Embuldeniya seal big win for Sri Lanka
7-billion-rupee diamond heist; Madush splls the beans before being shot
The Burghers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka- Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Unfit, unprofessional, fat Sri Lankans
Features7 days ago
The Sandahiru event – celebrating failure
news6 days ago
Sirisena, other SLFP MPs asked to leave Govt.
news7 days ago
Scotland Police to stop training Lankan cops
Sports6 days ago
World’s lowest paid captain on the verge of equalling World Record
Features7 days ago
Are we heading for an unprecedented disaster like the Irish Potato Famine?
Sports7 days ago
Cricket’s finest gentleman Michael Tissera
Sports3 days ago
Mickey’s ‘sloppy cricketers’ hand Windies the edge
Features2 days ago
Muslim divorce law in Sri Lanka