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Letters


JHU shows its colours while LTTE counts its recruits

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), which at one point suggested appointing a Tamil as the prime minister in 2004, displayed its true colours on May 29 when Rathana Thera made the statement, “Japanese are from Japan, English are from England, Tamil is not a race in Sri Lanka. They have a separate country,” further suggesting that Sri Lankan Tamils do not belong in Sri Lanka but in Tamil Nadu. Undoubtedly, the LTTE would welcome such statements with open arms as it directly benefits their cause.
Interestingly, the JHU also happens to have a few Tamil members – such as Mahadevan of Gampola – who support the party from outside. However, the party does not seem to have the mental capacity to distinguish between the average peace loving Sri Lankan Tamil citizen and the ruthless separatist rebels of the LTTE.
The island has historical significance to all races and religions. From the epic of the Ramayana to the great historical accounts in the Mahavansa, Sri Lanka’s history has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious past.
Sadly, certain factions in the Sinhala polity assume that Tamils arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday or the day before. The Yalpana Waypawa Malai traces Tamils in the Serendib back to BC 200 where there were settlements in Kallingamunai and Mannar.
The only Tamil kings the common Sri Lankan talks about is Elara and Sangiliyan. History books give more prominence to Tamil kings who invaded the country rather than talking about Tamil kings in the Jaffna kingdom itself; from Segarajasekerans to the Arya Chakravarthi dynasty, Vikraman, Virothyan just to name a few.
The Ordinary Level history book gives three pages out of the whole book for the Jaffna kings. Even then the two pages talk about Sangiliyan as a villain who burned dagobas and temples.
At the end of the day, it is easy to talk about national pride and living in unity. But those who are ushering national pride in the parliament and in gatherings were the same people who kept isolating the Tamils. If those in power are warranting the premise of a Sinhala Buddhist state, then they are only provoking liberal minded Tamils to support a separatist nature.
– M. Ramalingam (TamilsforDemocracy.Org, May 30, 2007)
Comments: tamildemocracy@gmail.com

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Security for CBK

Certainly the erstwhile former President of our country needs to have a beefed up security for her safety. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, childhood playmate of Chandrika, when she was romping around like a tomboy in short skirts, as was the teenage fashion of the day, wants more security for the ex-President. Chief Government Whip, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has also made a similar request. Ranil and Jeyaraj obviously know the danger CBK is exposed to. Having read the letter in ‘Opinion’ in The Island newspaper of December 12, 2006, the public should know that she has to answer the grave charges outlined below;
(1) Tawakkal takeover of Puttalam Cement
(2) AirLanka takeover by Emirates
(3) Shell Gas monopoly
(4) Waters Edge transaction
(5) Rubber block factory affair
(6) Alleged purchase of second hand vehicles at new car prices
(7) Giving Admiral Sandagiri an unprecedented three year extension after the age of retirement, considering that there had been serious allegations made against him in respect of improper arms purchases
(8) The French locomotive tender, when the country purchased ship engines for locomotives.
(9) Irregularities in the administration of the President’s Fund. A few more serious misdemeanours that were revealed.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa should without delay appoint a commission of enquiry and clean up the augean stables and live up to his promises.
CBK’s father and mother were illustrious leaders, known around the world but their daughter, alas, has failed them. She is certainly in danger and like all citizens must be given security, decided by the authorised officer, the IGP having taken into consideration her pleadings for her life.
I.L.P. Samarasinghe

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Whither women’s organisations?

I am writing to express my displeasure that more women’s groups have not come out in support of Sonali Samarasinghe, Editor, ‘The Morning Leader’. Champika Liyanaarachchi, Editor, ‘Daily Mirror’, for their treatment at the hands of, in the case of the former, the CID and the latter, another woman journalist, at the insults hurled at her by a minister. Although the minister, I think, like the other recent pole vaulters from the UNP, is talking through his hat or, through some other orifice, he should learn that, when one points a finger at another, three other fingers are pointing back at him.
However, I am certainly surprised that women’s organisations, usually vociferous, are silent, where these women journalists are concerned. I think that many women would join if protests are organised against this kind of interrogation and insults by people who should know better. It seems to me that the brains of the pole vaulters have dropped during the jump.
I.M.K. Karunarathne
Colombo 3

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Issue of restoring the pension voucher

I wish to draw the attention of readers to a news item published in the front page of a leading daily paper of May 17, 2007, titled ‘Annual cost Rs. 56 million – controversy surrounds decision to re-issue pension receipts.’
It says that an annual cost of Rs. 56 million would be incurred to re-issue the pension receipt to approximately 400,000 pensioners. It adds, “the former Public Administration Minister stopped the issue of pension vouchers since January last year in a bid to cut down costs. Continuing further, it says, that the source said that more burdens are heaped on the tax payer, amidst the soaring cost of living, primarily due to the recent petrol and diesel price hike. The sources said that the Minister would not give into pensioners’ unreasonable demand, as it would entail sizeable funds. The sources expressed belief that the government would review the decision to issue pension receipts.
I would like to mention that the Public Administration Minister, Karu Jayasuriya assured the delegation from the National Federation of Pensioners who met him to discuss important issues pertaining to the pensioners the other day that the pension receipt would be issued. The proposed receipt is not required to draw the pension but to ascertain deductions and extra payments, if any, during the month to the pensioner.
While fulfilling the pledge given by the Minister, the Circular of May 7, 2007 was issued by the Director General of pensions to issue the voucher. No doubt, Pensioners would receive the voucher in June or July.
We, the pension populace, abhor the sarcastic remarks made by the so called officials mentioned in the above news item, thinking that they hold their positions eternally, becoming the laughing stock of the pension populace. They never realise that they too would join the parade of the pensioners.
Mr. Minister, hopefully you are taking meaningful steps to rectify the blunder made, perhaps on the destructive advice of the so called officials, with motives of self aggrandizement and quick promotions.
However, they need not be overly pessimistic, nor should they be overly optimistic either.
K. Abeykoon
Moratuwa

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Saving our elephants

Now that we have heard enough harrowing tales of what is being done to drive our elephants into extinction, including the account of the one captured in Deraniyagala, to be gifted to the Maligawa, but delayed, because the chains binding him had cut through to his bones. Surely, it is time to canvass the support of all concerned?
Monks have been requested to advise the Tourism Ministry.
Green Forum should certainly persuade the Mahanayakes for their support towards elephant conservation. Animal lovers have to admit that their frantic appeal, a few years ago, to all and sundry, including the Mahanayakes, for help, to stop flesh export from this “Buddhist” land, drew a blank. However, elephants are the most wanted objects in temples during perahera­ time. Imagine the Kandy perahera minus its elephants draped in shimmering robes, pacing majestically, it seems, in worship of the greatest lover of all! Who will want to watch a perahera without elephants, and who or, what will hold aloft the sacred casket?
Judging from TV, an elephant drive is quite a ball for the two-legged drivers, armed with guns, firecrackers, clubs, sticks, sedatives - against the cornered elephants, frightened out of their wits. Mahanayakes should ask the government to stop these drives, pushing them into areas without enough food or water, for the express purpose, it seems, of starving them to death. The drives should rather, be human drives to resettle humans encroaching on elephant land.
As for those mowed down by trains, there should be a rule for trains to proceed slowly when traversing elephant territory, like in other countries. Here, they whiz past, picking up speed to gain right of way or, is it, as rumoured, to help accomplices lurking behind bushes, with saws, to sever the best part of those knocked unconscious? If money meant for elephants is not diverted elsewhere, as now reported, there will be enough funds to appoint expert veterinarians and dedicated wildlife employees, attuned to elephant needs, not those glued to TV sets watching cricket (as happened recently) ignoring the frantic calls to lift a young elephant sinking fatally into a mud hole.
The list of reforms is endless. If the present callous attitude continues for a while longer, the most adorable giant ­size inhabitant of our land, will be driven to extinction.
Prema Ranawaka-Das
Moratuwa

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Far-sighted LSSPer with blinkers on

Sydney Knight of Rajagiriya, yearns for those he met at the University. Dr. N.M. Perera, a Samasamajist lectured there. Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, who wrote ‘Ceylon under the British’ may have been a guest speaker. Doric de Souza of the English Department was a Samasamajist. So was I.J. Wickrema of the Government Clerical Service. P.B. Tampoe of the Agricultural Department was discontinued from government service for striking and addressing strikers He went on to take over the disorganised mercantile service employees under the name of Ceylon Mercantile Union, and continues until today having embraced the general workers.
Sydney Wanasinghe, Osmund Jayaratne, R.S. Bhagavan, no more a samasamajist. Lyn Ludowyke of the University, was a sympathiser, for, as an intellectual, he saw that leftism was the sure road to independence from British imperialist rule. Dr. Colvin R. de Silva sincerely believed that one language would precipitate two states. He was right, for, since 1956, it was Sinhala only. Though, at the beginning, it was Tamil also but being a cumbersome procedure which the country could ill afford, and with Tamils leaving the country in droves, following the 1983 riots, the architect was the late President J.R. Jayewardena, Sinhala became the sole language.The vast expanse of Tamil Nadu has Tamil as its state language. Mighty India, with many states, uses Hindi for a state language. Why should not Sri Lanka have Sinhala as the state language, with English as the second language to facilitate dealings with the world and English speaking Jaffna? Disenfranchisement of foreigners Indians and Pakistanis of recent origin, prevented the flooding of the country with foreigners, who would have dethroned Sri Lankan labour. Knight bemoans that majoritarianism is the order of the day. Is he hoping for a Tamil-speaking minority to take over governance, so that the Tamil speaking gentry will not emigrate in search of greener pastures. Sri Lanka is a underdeveloped country, which only now is girding its loins to see that Sri Lankans will perch on the high roosts where Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and Sinhalese will all cackle together! The Tamil need not leave, unless he is a Tiger attempting to set up Eelam. The great danger to this country is that the Eelam python would attempt to swallow the larger southern entity. The armed forces will see to it that sanity will prevail with the military defeat of the Eelamists
Professor Tissa Vitharana, nephew of the late Dr. N.M. Perera, one time leader of the defunct LSSP, is hanging on to old shibboleths. The south is full of Tamil speaking people. Only Tamils may live in the north. Tamil speaking Muslims were herded out of the north into the east; and now, despite it, the Professor proposes the province as the unit of devolution. Presumably, to ensure that Eelam remains undisturbed. The brilliance of the late President J. R. Jayewardena was the proposal for an executive president. That suggestion speeded up the political and economic progress of the country. Vitharana goes against the SLFP decision to have district councils, a more economically viable entity, only because he fears the discontinuation of Eelam. Vitharana not a constitutional expert like his late uncle, should stick to his subject of science and technology. Two Houses of Parliament would slow down the economy, while increasing salaries and state expenditure. Two vice presidents from different communities would entrench war as a permanent feature. Makes one wonder why Christian dignitaries are involved in peace and want war discontinued to lead the way to talks. Have not they heard that the terrorist leader asked his followers to kill him if he abandoned the fight for Eelam?
The executive presidency must not go if we are to ascend to economic heights that Malaysia and little Singapore rose to as Asian economic tigers!
Jeremy Alles
Dehiwela

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LP gas and the mess

At a time when Minister Bandula Gunawardene is squeezing everything possible to comfort the consumer, LPG bosses are threatening another increase. From recent events, which appear to be a foreplay for an imminent permanent price hike, consumers will be hard hit again, with no solace.
As an economic wizard, the Minister will certainly look at all options to provide some consolation amidst the threats of gas monopolies. He did not even spare the role of natamis, in the exercise, in his recent intervention with the factors affecting the Pettah market commodity prices! Badly hit consumers unfortunately, are unable to help him with such sound economic formulae but, are ever ready to assist him with whatever information that is available with them, for the sake of their own survival.
The price of LP gas, like any other commodity, may be decided on account of several factors. We are not in a position to have access to such information but as consumers, we are aware of some ground realities, which some of the policymakers may not be. The purpose of this open letter is to invite the attention of those, to one such matter.
The BTT that is paid by the dealers and collected by the tax authorities, on the sale of gas, seems to add on to the price of gas, unnoticed quite significantly. This operates as follows;
The manufacturer pays 1% as BTT on the sale price of gas at the point of sale to the distributors. The distributor pays BTT on the sale price when gas is sold to the retailers.
The retailer pays BTT on his gas sales volume to the consumers at the rate of 1% of his turnover.
Let us now see the arithmetic of this cycle. If the manufacturer sells a 12.5 kgm gas cylinder to the distributor at Rs. x per cylinder, he pays 1% of x, as BTT
The distributor, when he sells at Rs. 936 per 12.5 kgm cylinder to the retailer, he pays at 1% on Rs. 936.
The retailer is selling a cylinder of 12.5 kgm at Rs. 960 and pays 1% as BTT on Rs. 960.
If we assume x to be Rs.900 (pardon our lack of information) Government gets Rs. 9 at this point from the manufacturer per each standard domestic gas cylinder. Then again the government gets at 1% from the distributor for each 12.5 kgm cylinder, i.e., a sum of Rs. 9.36.
Lastly, the retailer pays another 1% on the sale price of Rs. 960 for each cylinder, which amount is Rs. 9.60
Sum total of this is, on every gas cylinder sold, the Government collects Rs. 9+9.36+9.60 = Rs 27.96
If BTT is collected once, at any given point, the consumer gets a reduction of approximately Rs. 18 on the price.
Today, LP gas is a household item used by almost all householders and an essential item affecting the cost of living. Among other magic solutions contemplated, which might take some time to gestate, before implementation, isn’t this a factor that can be directly addressed by the magicians, to afford some relief to the consumers. Please consider favourably in the name of justice to consumers!
Rusiripala
Nugegoda

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