The Sunday Leader

Plea For Redress

The distraught depositors of Central Investment & Finance Limited (CIF) are protesting in front of the CIF office for more than a month after they were deprived of their life-time’s savings deposited in the company.

Some 4000 depositors have been put into much distress, disappointment and helplessness as a result of the collapse of the company over which they had no control whatever. Already three depositors died due to the shock of hearing the collapse of the company.

Now many are suffering not having money to meet medical expenses, funeral expenses, children’s education, matrimonial purposes, and some for their sustenance in old age without being a burden to anyone, but all of their hopes and aspirations had been dashed to the ground with the collapse of the company.

When one is no longer fit enough to go out and earn a living, the only option available is to deposit his or her life-time’s savings and gratuity payments in a bank or in an institution recognized and recommended by the State to derive a monthly income.

This having been done, in a matter of few months into retirement, if a depositor is deprived of his monthly interest payments and on top of that to be informed that the company has gone bust, it would itself be strong enough to cause him a heart attack.

Such was the situation at CIF, where those who orchestrated the collapse of the company had run away with depositors’ money and are now ensconced abroad, beyond the reach of the law, making the depositors paupers overnight. One must come and speak to those hapless depositors sitting in front of the office to understand their agony, and desperation over the loss of their money, with no one coming forward to do them justice.

The protesters want the powers that be to also realize the gravity of the situation and do whatever is possible to bring the culprits to book and resuscitate the company. It is only the State intervention that can bring about some semblance of order into this chaotic situation.

If the State wants to salvage its citizens from this pitiable situation, it can use the powers vested in it to legally take over the company with its movable and immovable properties, recover outstanding loans classified as unrecoverable, bridge the deficit by acquiring properties of directors who had stashed-away depositors’ money and infuse some capital from an insurance fund to resuscitate the company and put it back on rails.

Such a step would instill an element of trust into the minds of the public and open doors for new deposits to come in to buttress the standing of the company. By such a move, if the authorities want the distraught depositors, most of them are senior citizens, to bear a little while until they receive their money back, I am sure they would.

What is needed is quick and positive action by the authorities to regain public confidence by State intervention. With all earnestness I appeal to the President to intervene in this matter, where his subjects have been defrauded by white collar criminals.

Nihal Fernando


Revise The Establishments Code

The present Establishments Code and its revisions do not serve any purpose unless they are carried out properly.

We are aware of many public servants whose denied but entitled dues have been either delayed or not granted even after the authorities of relevant departments were given orders to comply with the procedure.

Therefore, strict actions should be taken against such department heads irrespective of their rank and file because they discourage public servants from their services. For 30 long years I served at the Prison Department, but I received only two recommendations for promotions despite my excellent service.

During my service in the Prison Department, maladministration reigned and the staff received promotions or salary increments mostly via personal favours.
More often senior administrators did not recommend subordinates due to various personal or political bias.

I received only one promotion despite several orders given by the then Secretary Ministry of Justice and the Director of Establishments and Ministry of Public Administrations during my tenure. My contemporary officers who were in my rank received extended duration to serve after their retirement, but I was asked to resign at age 55.This injustice deprived me of five increments and a higher salary as well as a pension. This maltreatment of higher officers towards subordinates still continues.

Jeoffrey Gunasekera


World Vision And Kotagala
Plantations Build Two New Pre-schools

Minister Thondaman unveils the plaque at the opening of the pre-school at Mayfield Estate

World Vision and Kotagala Plantations PLC recently inaugurated two modern pre-schools in Hatton and Pathana. The sch ools which would benefit 68 children from the plantation communities address a much felt need for a standard pre-school to bridge the gap between crèche and primary school.
Chief Guest Arumugam Thondaman, Minister of Livestock and Rural Development, declared open the schools in separate ceremonies held at Mayfield Estate in Hatton and Bogahawatte Estate in Pathana.

The World Vision, Kotagala Plantations, the Estate Worker Housing Cooperative Society (EWHCS) and the community in close collaboration promote early childhood education through the construction of modern pre-schools in the area. Kotagala Plantations provided the land on which the pre-schools were constructed as well as unskilled labour, raw materials and electricity to the value of LKR 1.8M.

World Vision constructed and furnished the schools investing over LKR 8.2 million. The community contributed unskilled labour and three days’ wages at a total of LKR 600,000. The EWHCS will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the pre-schools.


No One Can Oust MR

A recently published article in the Daily Mirror has analyzed the situation of nominating a common candidate for the next presidential elections and had also interviewed Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, head of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ), for his views on the matter.
People in this country know that Ven. Sobitha Thero does not have any idea in contesting as a common candidate.

His only task is to keep the masses informed of the wrongs of the government and to search for a common candidate, because the main opposition, the UNP, is in a severe disarray, mainly its leadership. But circumstances seem to change that view
The next would-be common candidate is the former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who lost his civic rights for a period which lasts until the next Presidential election.

The other name is the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike whose presidential term has earned her disfavour of the masses. Sobitha Thero had also mentioned, if a former Chief Justice comes forward he will support him or her. Here he does not mention specifically the name of the former Chief Justice. It could be Sarath Silva, or Shirani Bandaranayake.

One other startling statement he made is that he has no objection in carrying out any investigation into alleged war crimes.

Perhaps this statement has the backing of former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who had been persistently saying that he is prepared to face any tribunal to prove that the war was conducted according to the international rules.

If Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero decides to be the common candidate, there will be stiff opposition from minority communities – Tamils, Muslims and also Christians – because they know that if a Buddhist monk become the head of state, he or she will certainly favour the Buddhists.

Under such a situation Mahinda Rajapaksa will be victorious, as the entire minority and also the Christians will vote for him. It would therefore appear all the efforts of Sobitha Thero would be futile if he cannot find a viable common candidate.

Arguably, people are dissatisfied with the present government and only the President can clear the stables, which he can do because he had already accomplished most what he has planned, by enforcing laws and bills in parliament, such as the abolishing of Public Service, Police and Judicial Commissions. President could now abolish these obnoxious bills and also the Executive Presidency with the two third majority of the present parliament. If he takes that courageous step, the government can carry out the development works it has already undertaken without a break. Then, no one will be able to oust Rajapaksa.



Dual Citizenship

The issue of granting dual citizenship, either a statue law or other recognized rule or method has so far been observed. The NP Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has recently requested the government to grant dual citizenship to members of the Tamil Diaspora living in about 10 countries, though they still continue to create unethical racial issues to embarrass the country and the government. The reason for CM’s requests is to embarrass the government and to attract the attention of countries thereby demanding human rights investigations.

It must be noted that any such request should originate from the individuals who wish to have dual citizenship.

It is a weak argument that Tamil Diaspora “have the technical know-how and the resources to contribute towards post-war rebuilding” claiming that “the government does not have the financial resources and professional technical input or knowledge capital to contribute towards an effective post war recovery.” The government cannot overnight repair the damage done by the LTTE to the livelihood of the people in NP.

The Tamil Diaspora left the country because the LTTE was forcibly enlisting Tamil male and female youth.

While living abroad they contributed finance and armoury to escalate the uprising against the elected governments.

Sooner or later Tamil Diaspora’s ‘ should understand that their ‘mother-land’ is Sri Lanka and not any other visualized nation.

Amore Patriae


Ranjini Somadevi Pelpola

She Was My Mother…

A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan
Many eulogies have been dedicated to mothers of our time. Since the dawn of time, no more words have been spoken, no more essays written and tributes orated in praise of anything or anyone other than the persona of ‘Mother’.

Every mother carries within her womb, for nine long and painful months, from conception to birth, either premature or fully-grown, the hope of all mankind: its regeneration. And it is not the physical weight that tells on her as much as the mental anticipation of bearing a bundle of joy and ecstasy that comes in the way of a child.

I had the rare privilege of playing cricket for my Alma Mater. Beginning from the under 14 level and going all the way up to the first eleven within a period spanning over seven years and after captaining the under 16 and the second eleven sides, I played in the first eleven team for three consecutive years under three illustrious captains.

Yet I had the unspeakable distinction of never being endowed with that rare privilege of playing in the ‘Big Match’ before thousands of spectators and to the cheers of old and present boys of my School. I was the perennial ‘twelfth man’ of the team so much so that even after I left school, I was made fun of at various public get-togethers by being called ‘the Reserve Captain’ (although I never took it as either an insult or a humiliation). Allow me some indulgence here.

Although my inclusion in the team for the ‘Big Match’ in the preceding two years prior to my last year in School was in doubt, I was fairly certain that in the third and last year, considering my form just prior to the ‘Big Match’, I would play at the venerated cricket grounds which is well-known for its legendary history and closeness to the city center.

In the match before the penultimate game, we had to travel to Galle to take up the fairly formidable Mahinda College cricket team and in that game, I took six wickets in both innings and my coach told me that since I was a left-arm bowler (I was exclusively a bowler) they would ‘hide’ me from the prying eyes of our ‘Big Match’ rivals and play me straight in the ‘Big Match’. I was elated beyond words and came home and told my parents that this time I would be playing in the Grand Finale. It was the tradition before the ‘Big Match’ each year that a ‘practice match’ would be played at the same venue.

It was usually a match between the team selected for the Big Match against the rest of those who came for practice regularly. I was included in the first team. And we took the field as our Captain lost the toss. While I was on the field, a frantic message reached our Captain and I was recalled to the pavilion and another player who had another three more years to play was sent in my place.

Apparently his mother, after hearing that her son had not been selected to the ‘first team’, had rushed to the venue and been sobbing that her son was not selected. This guy’s parents were quite influential and were related to the Captain’s family too. I knew that my goose was cooked!

At the end of the day when the team was announced, I was yet again named ‘twelfth man’. I came home thoroughly dejected to an expectant mother waiting to hear the confirmation of my inclusion in the side. I told them that I was not selected again and went to bed without eating.

I had made up my mind that I would not go to the match at all, leave alone carrying out the ‘twelfth man’-duties. Following morning I woke to my mother pulling the bed sheet and asking: “Punchi Putha, aren’t you going to the Match?” I replied no.

Then my mother told me the words that are still ringing in my ears: “Putha, go and let them know that you are made of better stuff, go do your ‘twelfth man’-duties.”

Those immortal words instilled in me then and there the will to never ‘give up’ and it has sustained me all these years in triumph and peril, in trouble and joy and in defeat and victory. Mother’s love can never be understood nor could it be belittled.

As much as it was another mother’s love, in no less weight and care, that interfered in the selection of my team, my mother, instead of wallowing in a sense of loss, gave all the encouragement and indomitable will to me to carry on, come what may. For that alone I am grateful to her. She indeed was a strange woman. At the time I was at the zenith of my career, she never took the time to boast about her children to her neighbours or relations; not that she was not proud of them, but she took it in stride, whatever that came in the journey of life, both flowers and cacti.

An ardent follower of the Dharma, she hardly forgot to send alms to the priests but always within her means. Never ever showing what she did not have, she lived within herself and advised her five children, four boys and one girl, on the same line. Sometimes singing an enchanting melody of yesteryear, she was stubborn at times to an insufferable extent yet sometimes as soft as the softest rose petals one could touch. If all love in the universe could be put together into one bundle, that bundle will be called mother.

No tributes would pay sufficient gratitude for her devotion to duty; no tempest could sway her courage and no ingratitude would bend her will. Her universe was her home; her joy was her children’s and her grief was never expressed.

Ninety four years on earth for a mundane man or woman is a long time. To live each moment of those years to the fullest is even more phenomenal. Great men have been borne by mothers and small men too have had their mothers. No mother is different to another, neither in character nor in substance. All mothers are the fountain of love and the fountain of life itself, literally.

In that great gallery of mothers, my mother takes no second tier. She indeed belongs on top. She was courageous, she was kind, she was simple and she was unique and last week in the twilight hours of the day, she breathed her last, leaving only the memories of a life well lived. She was my mother.

May she attain Nibbana!
Palitha Pelpola

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