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Monday, 24 May 2010

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Proposal to reduce electricity cost and wastage

In our Journey towards achieving the status of ‘Asian Miracle’, it is imperative that we make optimum use of our limited power and energy resources. Towards this end, we have to start by promoting usage of alternate energy sources and at the same time cutting down on wastage. For this purpose a genuine political will is required. I invite the new Minister to consider the following proposals.

Since Industries consume a major portion of electricity, firstly, the government should aggressively promote the ‘now- defunct’ system of giving financial concessions to those medium and large-scale industries/organisations using their own sources of power instead of the heavily subsidized national grid. An effective promotional campaign could re-energize this scheme with creative industrialists going for alternate energy sources.

Secondly, as both government and private sector offices are large-scale consumers of electricity, the government must make a clarion call on all of them with a special request to Trade Unions to; a) Make use of Day-light as far as possible during office hours.

b) Prohibit use of lifts up to at least first three floors (Where relevant) with provision for emergency facilities for needy.

c) Discourage use of air-conditioners and ceiling fans.

d) Where possible, allow employees to perform assignments from home for payment of a special allowance, as extended office hours entail not only payment of over-time but also additional electricity, water and other unproductive costs.

e) Suitable Incentive Schemes should be launched to encourage employees to cut down on electricity wastage in offices, (uncontrolled use of electric kettles, Immersion heaters and Ceiling fans) so that results and progress could be seen and felt by all concerned.

To state the least, these measures are fundamental for achieving the’ Power-hub’ target of the Government.


Admission of under-age children to Sasanaya

I came across a photograph published on the front page of a national daily where two children aged three and four, who had been ordained as Samaneras were playing with two toy cars at the New Year celebrations.

The Buddha suggested that no child be ordained as a Samanera without the consent of the child’s parents, after the issue arose as a result of King Suddodhana’s protest over Prince Rahula being admitted to the Sasanaya.

In the case of the two children in the photograph, their father had handed them over to be ordained as Samaneras as the mother had gone to the Middle East seeking employment. The mother apparently sought employment abroad to bring up the two children and have them educated. Hence, whether the mother’s approval had been obtained to enter the two children to the Sasanaya is doubtful. The father will now be free to go his own way even using the remittances from the mother.

Then again, children under ten years cannot make decisions on their own as they have no ability to properly understand issues. It is therefore not proper to admit such underage children to Bhikkhuhood.

The fact that the two Samaneras were seen playing with toy cars proves the point that they are still not fit to be Samaneras. Even in other religions such underage children are not forced into priesthood.

In the past, there was a process of admitting a boy of 10 to 15 years to a Buddhist temple as an Abiththaya, a trainee for Bhikkhuhood, to learn the basics for entering the Sasanaya and after a few years ordain the Abiththaya as a Samanera if he agrees to be in robes. The continuation of such procedure seems salutary.

On the other hand, whether there is no illegality in the ordination of the two under-age children needs examination. The Sangha Nayakes, Buddhist organisations and child protection societies should step in to sort out the issue.


Pension arrears delay

Cabinet approval to increase the basic pension by 25 percent from January 2010 was granted on December 16, 2009. Pensioners were made to understand by the Sri Lanka Ex-servicemens’ Association that the total payment including the arrears will be paid along with the pension for April 2010.

But it is much perturbed to mention that upto mid March 2010 the Gazette notification relevant to the approval has not been finalised by the authorities. Due to the reason, the pension increment which was approved five months ago is yet to be received by the pensioners who discharged an invaluable service to the country undergoing immense hardships.


Bread and optional prices

The new Trade Minister should see that no bread sellers sell their bread at their own optional prices.

They should not be allowed to talk about the quality, size and weight of their bread and thus increase the price.

The price of bread should be the same throughout the country.

In any price increase of any food items or other commodities it is the traders who bring discredit to any Government as they are hardly punished.


Let us work for the Miracle!

The war has been won and now the elections has been won and the best gift Sri Lanka has received just after elections is that Bollywood’s International Indian Film Academy awards ceremony is scheduled to be held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in June.

I personally feel the coin is spinning in the correct direction towards our nation, since the main curse that had plagued our country for nearly 30 years has been totally eradicated, we stand today with great pride and confidence breathing the fragrance of peace which we toiled to achieve. We should always be grateful and pay tribute to all those who toiled and laid down their lives for the sake of our nation. The time is ripe to get everything moving in the correct direction, as the Miracle of Asia will not be too far if we get our act together. The time has come to shed all our differences, and especially all Sri Lankans living here and abroad should gather together as one team for the sake of our country.

We should all support President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ambition of creating a better tomorrow in achieving a prosperous Sri Lanka. I conclude by mentioning that the time has come for Ranil Wickremesinghe to shed all differences and work together with President Mahinda Rajapaksa or else he will be a registered and a fully fledged life member of the Opposition, who will very soon find his name inscribed in Gold letters in the Guiness Book of World Records!

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