Since January 8, Maithripala Sirisena has been the President of Sri Lanka and he will continue for five years. First of all, let all blessings be upon him for him to serve all Sri Lankans equally. Before all else the people must be in good health. Hand in hand with the development of medical facilities, a [...]


Some suggestions to the President


Since January 8, Maithripala Sirisena has been the President of Sri Lanka and he will continue for five years. First of all, let all blessings be upon him for him to serve all Sri Lankans equally. Before all else the people must be in good health. Hand in hand with the development of medical facilities, a systematic programme should be started to promote healthy exercise among everyone, getting all schools, religious places, community centres and public institutions involved. TV channels should conduct suitable programmes on this.

No one in the world has been able to stop gambling. Due to greed and craving this is growing throughout the world. It is the same in Sri Lanka. Even the funeral houses have become gambling places. The government has the lottery scheme to help those who want to earn something extra by honest means. If this system is conducted properly people will not go for gambling. Therefore, it is important that the Lottery scheme be properly organised. The President has powers to do this. In countries such as the United States, Singapore and Britain, lotteries are popular and give additional revenue to the governments. Why is it not possible here? Without affecting state institutions and hurting those who are earning an honest income, it is possible to introduce a lottery scheme to help both the public and the private sector. Then the government lottery scheme will run properly.

Insurance is there to help people when they are in need. Our insurance companies which have become profitable must remember this. Any enterprise must develop and make a profit by making life better for the customer. I am sure the President who has now distributed the work among others can have a look at this.

The fuel business is entirely run by the state. But the sales are in the hands of private individuals, some of whom play out the consumer by manipulating the meters. This robbery is widespread. If a device could be found to check the diesel, petrol or kerosene with a litre bottle we could avoid a lot of cheating and resulting heart burn. The country is full of manipulated weighing scales in many shops and institutions that cheat the consumer.

State institutions such as the Inland Revenue Department, the Customs, the Department of Motor Traffic and even insurance companies that bring in an income to the State have become institutions that often fleece the consumer. They are making certain individuals rich. People are aware of the institutions that rob from the state and the people. The President should address this issue.

Take the prices of building material such as bricks and sand. Prices are far too high and there are no proper quality standards. Sand is not imported. Today the price of sand is higher than the price of cement. Can this be stopped? Blackmarketers and some traders have become more dangerous than drug dealers and illicit breweries. Since the Gangaramaya made available a packet of lunch at Rs. 50, the prices of packets of lunch have come down in other places also. The cooperative movement is there to protect the consumer from heartless traders. If the cooperative system can be developed using private organisations, prices could be reduced. We need a competent authority for this and the President is the ideal person to make this change.

Some say that building bridges and culverts bring in lot of illegal money. Who stopped this? In Burma even today the bridges and culverts are made of wood. The old railway lines and railway sleepers are sold to the black marketers. With these we can build culverts, small bridges in the villages within a month. Maghawa made bridges, roads and wells to earn the riches of Lord Sakra. We can mobilise religious institutions and schools and make small bridges and culverts out of rails and sleepers within a month.

Tourists come here, admire, buy and take away products of our garment industries. We go to India, Singapore and Thailand to buy various items, including hair pins, bags and shoes. People are doing business, selling these. Are they paying any taxes to the state? Even Jasmine flowers and waste paper are imported now. The President should stop all these. To get some work done in a government department properly and on time, we have to bribe officials in cash or kind.

Recently rice was imported from Burma and sold with a profit at Rs. 50 a kilo. At that time the present President was a minister in the government. There is nothing grown in some paddy fields now. The media reported that rice was exported from Sri Lanka recently, but the stock was returned because the quality was not good. If we grow good quality rice we can export it and earn a good profit. Rubber industry has problems. We don’t need to give it a subsidy. Even the standard of tea has come down. The solution is to improve their quality so that they become competitive. Those days the rallying call was for the oppressed masses to rise and destroy the rich. But today it should be to raise the standard of all.

It was reported that at the time of elections, the President will not take an active part in politics but be neutral. This is the ideal time for the President to consult the people and appoint a few active committees to study and rectify pressing needs. During this month if he can take action on these, development could be ushered in immediately.

Once the election is over those who obtained a higher percentage of preferential votes have to be accommodated. Those favoured by their political bosses should be got rid of and those preferred by the voters have to be accommodated and given responsibility. Still our election system is heavily dependent on factors such as caste, creed and nationality. At least now we have to change this and open our parliament to anyone who is capable of delivering the goods.

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