The contents of S. Wanasinghe's letter on the above caption which
appeared in 'Letters to the Editor' column of another daily newspaper,
seem absolutely accurate going by the way the Banks are clamouring to
grab the pawning business, offering higher percentages of value of gold
as loan quantum limits backed by a lot of advertising and publicity with
competitive but exorbitant interest rates, on one hand.
On the other hand, the Auction notices appearing all over the papers
and banners displayed at almost all Bank branches are ample evidence for
the lucrative business banks are enjoying at the expense of the poor
masses. Moreover, it is surprising to hear from the banking circles that
some banks are resorting to highly unethical practice of auctioning the
pawned articles when borrowers delay payments, even before the debts are
classified as per Central Bank's minimum classification requirements.
The Banks usually are or are expected to be reasonable in handling the
recovery of debts falling into arrears. Under normal circumstances, we
hear that Banks resort to liquidation of security only as a last resort
and that too when debts fall into the category of 'Doubtful or Loss'
that is when they are in arrears by a minimum of six months. This is the
norm in Banks, we are told.
However, for the poor down-trodden masses of our society there is a
different standard, a standard to their disadvantage. No waiting till
debts become really overdue or bad. When they are just one or two months
in arrears the security is put to auction i.e. the gold items, small
jewellery articles of spouses and children pawned due to abject poverty
are sold by public auction. Surely the Central Bank can check on this.
No doubt soon they will and penalize the offending banks.
The recommendations to remedy this situation in Wanasinghe's letter
are commendable. The Central Bank should amend the Capital adequacy
computation parameters and the Finance Ministry should improve the
taxation regulations to penalize these unconscionable profit making
institutions. They should not be allowed to bleed the poorest of the
poor of our society in their quest for higher returns.
The down trodden masses of this country will hail the Central
Bankers, Finance Authorities and the government for such corrective
action to save them and their livelihoods from this profit oriented
This refers to a Public Notice which appeared in the Daily News
published on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 by the Road Development
Authority of the Ports and Highways Ministry. The aforesaid Notice
displays allowable Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) for various types of
vehicles categorized thereto, in conformity with Gazette Notification
No. 1380/14 of 16th February 2005 published seven years ago, at which
time most of the roadways were constructed according to the then
prevailing standards, which did not conform to the bearing capacity of
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). However, currently most of the roadways have
been rehabilitated carefully and improved further, taking advantage of
the modern technology to ensure durability and longer life span,
utilizing a large amount of Public Funds to facilitate the life of the
people of the country and movement of heavy sophisticated vehicles
I was of the opinion that with the resuscitation of roadways, the
allowable GVW Kg would be taken into consideration, keeping in line with
the improved bearing capacity of the roadway. But to my dismay the
allowable GVW Kg granted in the year 2005 has been re-introduced in 2012
as well, despite all improvements and developments carried out at heavy
It is noted that under S/No. 06 the categorization of vehicle
(sample) is stated as “Articulated or combination vehicle with
two-wheeled front axle and four wheeled rear axle driving unit and dual
axle eight-wheeled trailer”. This type of vehicle is being used mostly
for transport of fuel and the payload capacity of such vehicle is 33MT
whilst the Tare Weight of the Driving Unit is 8.3 MT and the trailer is
7.6MT giving a total of 48.9 MT whereas the GVW Kg allowed is only 27.5
MT, equivalent to 56.23% of the capacity of the vehicle. Fleets of such
vehicles are commonly used for transport of the Ceylon Petroleum
Corporation fuel and implementation of this will result in an increase
of the selling price of petroleum products at local outlets and not
mentioning the requirements of increase in tariff by CEB in due time.
In the event the above requirement is adhered to, I am afraid that
all transport costs on fuel would be doubled and thereby the price of
fuel too would be jacked up accordingly, as the vehicles will have to do
two trips to cover the capacity of the vehicles. Thus the public will be
taxed and burdened further, despite their valuable contribution towards
the development of the country's and road networks.
In view of the urgency of this matter the Chairman of the Road
Development Authority, is requested to kindly reconsider the above
decision and to grant redress by allowing the payload capacity of the
vehicles, including the tare weight of Prime Mover and Trailer (GVW) Kg,
which I am confident would help improve the economy of the public in
particular and the nation in general.
In his letter of 19.11.12 R.M.A.B. Dissanayake has stated that the
offering of Atapirikara is a popular custom. It is not a custom but a
requisite of Buddhist monks for their living. The only possessions that
the Buddha had were the clothes he wore and the begging bowl.
He left a princely life and resorted to living in the tranquility of
a forest. He had laid down that these were the bare necessities of a
monk’s life. In the days of old the bowl was used not only for going in
search of food but also for collecting coconut oil for lighting
purposes. The bowl was part and parcel of a monk. It could be dispensed
with only when on a journey and that too for 24 hours. On a longer
journey monks carried the bowl. Dissanayake advocates separate sets of
bedding etc. When the robe could no longer be worn, it was to be used as
a bed sheet and when still not usable as a bed sheet, it had to be used
as a door mat to wipe the feet. That was conservation!
The Dhammapada says, “Thummehi kichchang atappan aktatharo
Thathagatha.” The Buddha only shows the way. It is for you to follow it.
There is only one way to Nirwana and that is the hard way.
It was reported in the Daily News of 19.10.2012 under the caption
‘Insurance planned for over 70s’ that the government is planning a new
insurance scheme for senior citizens who are above 70 years.
This is a matter for appreciation. However, only senior citizens over
70 years getting a monthly allowance of Rs. 1,000 will be entitled to
this new insurance scheme. At present only those who are in receipt of a
charity or Samurdhi allowance will be eligible to receive this payment.
There are many senior citizens over 70 years who are at present not
having a fixed income or a pension. I therefore, wish to request the
Social Services Minister to consider paying the allowance of Rs. 1,000
to them as well, so that apart from getting an income they too will get
the benefit of the proposed insurance scheme.
The closure of a part of the traditional road from Kandy to Ampara,
Mahiyangana, Digana etc. between the Kandy town and Anagarika Dharmapala
Mawatha must have cost our country billions of rupees in foreign
exchange, much more to the people of Sri Lanka, especially those in the
Kandy District, millions of valuable man-hours and millions of litres of
petrol and diesel.
The road was used by vehicles prior to terrorist attacks on the Sri
Dalada Maligawa without any problem. Hundreds of thousands of people who
travel to the east of Kandy travelled from the Queen’s Hotel area to
Madduma Bandara Mawatha junction in about a minute and since the closure
of the road, they are forced to travel about 5km round the lake,
sometimes wasting about half an hour or more. The pollution due to the
closure of the road would have included the emission of millions of
litres of toxic gases.
The Central Bank is repeatedly warning the public through the
electronic media not to make investments with unauthorized Financial
Institutions. Though this advice is very good it will not reach all the
people of this country. So there is a great possibility for people,
specially the illiterate, to invest in such bogus institutions.
Further, an investor will not know whether it is an authorized or
A bogus or genuine financial institution cannot attract investors
without displaying advertisements in newspapers or making announcements
through radio or television. Therefore, the Central Bank has the bounden
duty of checking the legitimacy of such institutions and taking action
not only for running them without the Central Banks approval but also to
close them down immediately.