15th June, 2003 Volume 9, Issue 48
of peace talks - a Tamil view
suspension of peace talks by the LTTE in respect of the donor conference
held in Tokyo, is a matter of much concern to both Sinhalese and Tamils in
particular. It is also a rebuff to the UNP government, which had depended on
the LTTE to rejoin. The explanation by the government for the suspension is
that the LTTE had been snubbed by the US by not being invited to the
pre-donor conference held in Washington.
Tamils are certain, that the reasons for the suspension go much deeper. Most
Tamils are aggrieved that the promised funding for the NE has not
materialised, except for assurances.
LTTE now insists that the funding be made firm, steps taken to ensure that
the funding will be honoured, and that the Tamils have a concrete say in its
disbursement. Mere assurances will not do, as shown to Japan, when it tried
to coerce the LTTE to rejoin. Although belatedly, the UNP is trying to cover
up its faux pas in coercing Japan to delegate most of its funding for
southern development instead of the original plan to uplift the NE with
funds. The LTTE is now insisting on concrete plans to assure that the Tamil
region is not kept in the same position, with its war devastated economy in
UNP leader may have patted himself on the back, when he persuaded the
Japanese delegate to divert most of the funds to the south instead of the NE
and may now be trying to undo the damage. The gambit of Japan in trying to
force the LTTE to attend has not borne fruit.
Tamils are also aggrieved that the NE remains still a war devastated area,
with hardly any improvement, except for the showpiece-public library. The
LTTE cannot be fooled by such baubles. The Tigers sacrificed their precious
lives for the cause of Eelam and although the LTTE had modified it to
federalism, they have not given up the rights for total autonomy of the
Tamils have been disappointed that the UNP had freely donated the oil tanks
in Trinco, the land bridge to Mannar, various facilities to the US without
any consultation with the LTTE. There will come a time, when the LTTE would
demand its dues fully in the north east. The UNP has tactfully tried to make
the Muslims in the east demand a separate region, the EPDP to remain in
power, and other tactics, which the Tamils rightly condemn.
war is restarted, then the blame will fall squarely on the UNP. The south is
insisting that courts and the legal systems be enforced in the north east,
ignoring the fact of the laws delays, and expenses. The LTTE has the right
to manage its own legal systems and courts which resulted almost in a crime
free region, when in power. Now it is the reverse.
the insistence of the Sinhala southern child conscription's rankling, since
it is felt that this insistence is primarily due to the concern with LTTE
recruitment of youth. The government can afford to pay nearly Rs. 12,000 to
each soldier, while the LTTE has to depend on patriotism to join. It would
be noted that a Sinhala parent can hand over a child to the temple to stay
celibate for life without the consent of the child. This right is denied to
the LTTE on the basis of human rights.
West is concerned with human rights and selfishness, while the East
considers that the duty to society is higher, and that man is born to fulfil
his dues to society. The LTTE is of that view. It would be tedious to quote
eminent men who have declared that man is born selfish, and must be moulded
by society to give precedence to society ideals.
UNP and the LTTE are playing their cards in this game of politics, and who
will blink first is the leading question. The Tamils are confident that the
LTTE will safeguard the rights of the Tamils, whatever the case may be.
Choksy hit the nail on the head
of Finance, K. N. Choksy hit the nail on the head when he said recently that
our banks make too much profit. He went as far as to state that a one
percent return on turnover was a very satisfactory return for a bank. No
doubt our bankers will disagree with him most vehemently. They may even
wonder whether he has taken leave of his senses!
are among the highest profit makers in our country, bar the state owned
banks whose financial results are affected by bureaucratic lassitude and
a new high rise "tower" was inaugurated by a front-runner bank. It
was touted as the most lavish and luxurious of all such towers.
This tower with its vulgar opulence shamelessly flaunted in our faces
is further testimony to the towering profits generated in the banking
it surprise anyone that despite the gloomy economic environment of the
recent past and the uncertainty of the present, banks keep raking in
increasing profits year after year? Banks occupy that enviable niche in the
business sector in Sri Lanka where high profits are guaranteed, come what
may. There are several reasons
for this enviable situation which do not require any major cerebral output
Central Bank of Sri Lanka is the bankers' best friend. Their regulatory
policies and measures are weighted in favour of the banks rather than the
clients. The recent collapse of a prominent bank in Colombo had a
catastrophic effect on hundreds of investors who were literally shell
shocked to find their hard earned savings vapour-ised. The fact that this
particular bank, with its peculiar practices introduced by directors of
dubious rectitude, carried on for so long is condemnation enough.
patronage is another factor, but this type of favour is spread throughout
the business community in equal measure. The ultimate blame must lie with
the Ministry of Finance which has condoned sharp and questionable practices
adopted by banks in their routine dealings with their customers.
quite naturally, make their profits by lending money on interest. We
customers all concede this. But what of the great disparity in interest
rates charged by banks in Sri Lanka as compared with those in other
interest rates prevailing in our country can only be described as crippling,
even now, though the Ministry has woken up to the horror of high interest
rates foisted on the public, who have no option but to take it -to their
great detriment. However, if one wishes to invest money one would normally
get about 50% of this rate.
again project funds from international lending consortiums and donor
agencies which are granted at minimal interest rates are channelled through
our banks to would-be entrepreneurs at extortionate rates, after having
secured the loans with lethal mortgages. This is money for the proverbial
jam! It is absolutely disgusting and discouraging that the government
overlooks this profiteering on the part of the banks. Banks are supposed to
be honourable and only charge a just commission and not look upon such
assignments with open avarice.
indeed, the time has come for the government to exercise a much more
positive role in regulating banks and banking practices, if not dismantle
this enclave of financial power whose stranglehold on our economy will spell
The entrepreneur and the self employed will be sucked dry and
discarded. Minister Choksy, you
know the saying even the road to hell is paved with good intentions.Come,
translate your good intentions to reality with speedy implementation.
toxic south: coming soon
failed idea travels to another landscape to mar its existent beauty. Sri
Lanka should certainly drop this idea for a coal fired power plant. The
latest suggested place to put this is Hambantota. Sure, let the southern
regions become the recipient of heaps of industrial pollutants.
do not forget that currently this district is the home of many industries
that are sustainable. Like its fisheries, salt industry and tourism. If the
belching stacks of smoke from burning coal is added to this atmosphere
surely, these sustainable industries will be ruined! Studies show that areas
where the ash from the burnt coal settles suffer decreased yields. This
phenomenon is attributable to the decrease in the amount of sunlight that
crops can absorb when partially covered by coal ash.
this to the toxins spewing from the proposed oil refinery and the Hambantota
area becomes an ecological write off. The jungles around Kataragama, Yala,
Bundala are bound to be negatively impacted. With an increase in oil tankers
dropping off their crude oil for refining, the chances for a catastrophic
oil spill will go up. It is a difficult coast for any ship to navigate.
these projects go ahead and when a pristine area is made home to heavily
polluting industries, what person or tourist in their right mind would come
to such an area?
likely those who profit from these ill conceived mega-projects will live
nowhere near the toxic areas they will be creating. Lets keep the polluting
industries out. Do not let the old boys (BOI) mislead us again.
people have instant access by TV to see their favourite international
cricket matches and also to listen to simultaneous expert comments almost
ball by ball, but it is an irony of fate that the mass of the people have
been denied viewing and giving ear to the performances and acts of their
representatives in parliament.
some political high ups have seemed now and again inclined to get across to
the people the proceedings in the House, the inalienable democratic right of
the mass of the people in this regards has not yet been realised. Like
justice, the case of democracy would be adequately served not only when it
is ventilated by the representatives in the august assembly, but also is
seen by the mass of the people to be done so.
fact, it would go a long way for the exercise of supervision and control by
virtue of the sovereignty of the people if uncensored proceedings of the
House are made available over the air.
adoption of the course of action to disseminate the necessary information
would avert tendencies to filibuster or speak and act in an otherwise
untoward manner, which would devalue the image of any representative or
party before the public. In addition it would lead to saving of much money
and effort of the nation by preventing the rather frequently occurring
adjournment of sittings for the purpose of maintaining disciplinary control.
the circumstances, there is no doubt whatsoever that the fervent hope of
many is that those in authority would ensure live telecasts of uncensored
proceedings of parliament.
sought for land acquisition
living along the Peradeniya - Gampola road will be most obliged if you could
kindly highlight our plight in your newspaper so that the relevant
authorities will take some action to compensate us for the land acquired for
the road expansion as early as 1996.
1995, we were given notice that portions of our land were to be taken over
for road expansion and then, these lands was taken over. The road expansion
work was completed well over an year ago and no compensation has been paid
to anyone living along this road up to now.
matter was taken up with the RDA and they understand that the delay was with
the divisional secretary's office. We have on many occasions tried to
contact the divisional secretary, but the answers we get from his office are
sincerely hope that the RDA, the minister in charge, or even the funding
organisation which we understand is the Asian Development Bank will look
into our grievances and compensate us even at this late stage
- a thankless job
has been written about doctors in the print media for some time. There have
been praise as much as condemnation. Bouquets and brickbats have been thrown
at the medical fraternity time and again.
medical service is special. It is sacred, noble and holy. It is not merely a
job or a profession as such. There is much more in this sphere. Humanity at
its best, kindness and love at its warmest and a high sense of sacrifice are
essential criteria apart from their professional qualification, vast
knowledge and expertise.
have come across many incidents of medical negligence and callousness on the
part of doctors and nursing staff some of which have even resulted in
fatalities. Many are the instances when people are quick to criticise even
the slightest medical misadventure, mistake or faux pas. We are wrong if we
are to expect all to be perfect all the time. Mistakes do occur
accidentally, certainly not willingly or purposely. It is very wrong to
think that doctors and others in this noble profession would deliberately
hold a patient's life to ransom. Many outside issues such as stress, strain,
tiredness, lack of mental and physical rest, overwork etc. can cause medical
negligence but it is the duty of all in the medical profession to try to
minimise such risks by a collective and concerted effort.
much as people are quick to criticise any wrong step or a mistake of the
medicos in public, it is our duty to pay tribute and credit where such is
due as it is only fair and deserving. I wish to highlight two recent
incidents involving my family. My daughter eight months in expectation of
her second baby had an unfortunate fall at home slipping in the stairway on
April 2 noon. Fortunately for all of us she and the baby were saved but she
suffered a compound fracture on her right leg, just above the ankle. On the
advice of the VOG, we rushed her to
a private hospital bleeding profusely from her leg injury and immediately
taken into the emergency room where she was taken care of and later
the time we arrived at the hospital,
theVOG had already contacted the hospital and given necessary instructions.
Surgery was performed that evening to clean her wound and adjust the broken
bones and her leg was plastered from thigh to toe by the ever-smiling, most
understanding army surgeon, Dr. S.D. Karunaratne who explained the
repercussions and consoled my startled family.
eight days she was warded she received the best medical attention from all
the doctors, very loving personal care from the sisters and nursing staff,
and even the minor staff.
little happening in the Wanni
Jeyaraj in his article titled "The role of SIHRN in the north
east" in The Sunday Leader (April 27) refers to the postponement of the
SIHRN meeting and the need for the LTTE to play an active part in such
meetings. A special fund (NERF) has been set up and Norway as well as the
Japanese government have contributed us $ 2.7 million and Rs. 35 million
is also reported that the "government in cooperation with and funding
from ADB, WB, UN agencies, bilateral agencies and NGOs is actively involved
in a number of projects aimed at improving livelihood and production
little is happening in the Wanni. The only significant benefit has been the
opening of the A9 highway. There is a free flow of goods and people and the
huge market in the north has been opened up for the traders from Colombo
mainly. The only produce (surplus) from the north is limited to onions,
tobacco, some plantains and dried fish.
and rehabilitation deserve high priority. At the same time short term
projects that would rapidly step up production of agricultural, fisheries
and small industries should be given high priority. This would make the
people less dependent on relief measures, create employment and raise living
standards. Even the limited produce surplus receive low prices due to poor
roads and traders do not visit production areas.
are told that studies have been made and short/long term plans have been
formulated. Some ADB and World Bank financed projects are being implemented.
one knows what and where these are located and the expected benefits. Those
genuinely interested could contribute useful ideas, if development plans are
you met a Sri Lankan businessman who told you, payable when able? Definitely
no, isn't it? But in my case, there was one - probably the only one the
Almighty has installed on this serendipitous island. Most of the customers
entertained at the Bambalapitiya showrooms of Rite-Shu witnessed this unique
versatile quality of the late Al Haj Ahamad Ilham Thowfeek (39) who was the
proprietor of this exclusive customer care centre.
was a caring and loving marketeer of the first order. A down-to-earth
hospitable man. Not only for his valuable clients, but for his staff,
friends and relatives too. A live wire of the Bambalapitiya Holy Family
Convent Parents Forum too.
he breathed his last on May 5, he was under the medical care at the ICU of a
leading private hospital in Colombo, following a surgical operation on his
Aqeeela and Nadhira will miss their beloved father, I at "Live
Line" will miss a gentle human being who generously backed most of my
novels, not for profit-based projects, for the past ten years.
time may hide the sadness. A smile will hide the tears but pleasant memories
of you will last forever"
Ilham, I pray for you a successful life in the hereafter, wholeheartedly.
Abdul Kareem Nandasena
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