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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

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Government Gazette

Why reopening closed state hospitals is a must

'Peace alone is not helping us. The President's programmes are very good. But we request the President to make sure that the benefits of development reach grassroots villages like ours.'

These words of a youth in Kayts, currently at the heart of a heady local government electoral tussle, along with some other areas of the North, touch on one of the most sensitive issues in the debate on development. Plainly and succinctly, he has told us what development, correctly understood, is all about.

Development is really all about roads, bridges, electricity pylons that light up once desolate homes, clean water, schools that are fully functional and well staffed hospitals that are open 24 hours a day and administering purse-easy medicines and many more public facilities that make the life of the ordinary people easy to bear. Rather than go along with the popular tide and mechanically mouth platitudes, our youngster from Kayts made no bones about the fact that he would not be taken in by anything that happens around him, unless his life was full of the very essentials for living. This is development and none other.

This is food for thought for all those who are feverishly canvassing votes in the North and outside and for all those who think they know a thing or two or more about development issues. For development to be meaningful the most pressing needs of the ordinary people must be satisfied and it is these ordinary people, who need to wage a desperate struggle to make ends meet, who constitute the bulk of this country's population, inasmuch as they make-up the majority in the rest of the developing world.

Therefore, the state must aim at delivering to the people not only conflict-free living but a life which is not devoid of the essentials for living. Accordingly, those facilities and amenities that enable the people to fulfill at least a few of their needs must be kept operational by the state. From this point of view, the state is doing right by reopening provincial and other hospitals which were closed at one time on account of the conflict and other compulsions. Many of these are being reopened in the North and this would, no doubt, accrue to the good of the Northern people.

As we have mentioned earlier, Sri Lanka has kept the welfare system alive even to a degree over the years, and this has ensured the survival of the ordinary people although life could not be described as having treated them well at all over the decades. If not for the welfare system thousands would have perished in the North as a result of the privations heaped on them by the LTTE. However, the welfare measures adopted by the state ensured that the majority of the people in the North-East survived the most difficult times.

As for the people of the rest of the country, life would have been near impossible for them too if the state had adopted a completely hands-off policy in regard to public welfare, after the onset of the 'market economy' in the mid-seventies. The 'interventionist state' has, however, ensured that the crucial needs of the people have been always met and we believe that this legacy of caring for the people would need to be maintained into the future as well.

Nevertheless, most socially-conscious persons would have watched with regret the closure of essential institutions, such as, hospitals and schools, in some parts of this country over the years. These closures may have been effected for numerous reasons but the most disheartening inference the observer would have been compelled to draw was that the sun was truly setting on the essentially welfare state which is Sri Lanka.

We believe that public welfare, which is an essential aspect of development, cannot be left at the mercy of market forces. The state should not only be interventionist to an extent, but should continue to be committed to the people's welfare if development in the truest sense is to continue. Essential public facilities must continue into the future and it is only the welfare state that could ensure this. In other words, the welfare state must perpetuate itself.

UPFA will win majority of Local Government bodies - Minister Ranawaka

The Channel 4 video is directly connected to the next UNHRC session. It wanted to change the mindset of the public in key countries. They telecast the fabricated video in India, Australia, US and now in Europe. Their main intention is to change public opinion. They want to castigate our war heroes as war criminals. After telecasting this fabricated video in Australia, public opinion was affected. Therefore, we have to have some sort of counter offensive,

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The Morning Inspection

Love is irreversible and life forever young

There were two Wijeratne Warakagoda ‘moments’ in my life. The first was at Peradeniya University sometime in the year 1986. The second encounter was in the year 2000. I believe I saw him on Rupavahini. This was the day the much-loved politician from Kegalle, Dharmasiri Senanayake died,

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Orientalism, falsehood and melodrama:

The world of Kiki Darusman and Gordon Weiss

The vivid descriptions by the Darusman Panel and Gordon Weiss of the last month of the conflict are designed to present government as outrageously wicked. Any relief that was provided is attributed to foreigners. Thus the panel brazenly claims that ‘The ICRC’s ships were also the only means for delivering food’.

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