SB's agricultural shot
S.B. Dissanayake's 'harak' reference to Treasury officials may be
a bull in the China shop attitude even though who is bullying whom
is not quite clear to a very confused public. All newspaper accounts
have it that there is some sort of inertia in the Treasury, and
when this is manifest in a key area such as funding for agricultural
development, we need to question the attitude of these public officials.
The fight between
S.B. Dissanayake and the Treasury has left the public and the press
guessing what exactly the problem is, or what actually has happened.
It only makes them guess that the Treasury has not released the
necessary funds to the Ministry, thus resulting in the clash.
When the LTTE
is being disbursed funds by a government that is willing to do most
anything to please the LTTE's sudden lust for development, it is
not very surprising that a Minister in the "South" is
complaining that he is being given the step-brotherly treatment.
If the government
can say "as you please" to the LTTE, at least it is fair
to ask the Treasury to be more flexible when it comes to key Ministries
which have an impact on the economy of the entire nation.
'harak'' talk, on the other hand, is utter boorishness, bordering
on village bully tactics. Mr. Dissanayake does not have to bring
down the level of the political discourse to bovine levels, though
he may be justly aggrieved. The public, which is on the one hand
being sold short by the Treasury's sluggishness, is on the other
hand treated to a Minister's tart-tongued talk. All of which is
a bit too much.
however, and what's lost on all concerned in the midst of it, is
the fact that the agricultural sector cannot be pushed to the back
burner in the list of national priorities. Various experts may think
otherwise, but neglecting agriculture goes against the grain of
the national economy, which has always considered agriculture a
national priority. The Sri Lankan national ethos is an agricultural
one -- we could say there is no Sri Lankan identity without an agricultural
Ranil Wickremesinghe and his party boys were displaying green shirts
and sarongs in the rice bowl of Polonnaruwa, canvassing votes. And
at the same time the UNF Government is seemingly neglecting rice
production on the basis that importing rice is cheaper than growing
may not care for these home truths, but whatever designs they may
have on the Ministry of Agriculture and its future, at least they
should let the Minister operate without any let or hindrance. This
is the least that can be asked for, if the LTTE is being allowed
a good deal of leeway by the same officials when it comes to their
projects - - be they agricultural or otherwise.
Mayor is shot
The latest from the Mafia world of political skulduggery is that
there has been an attempt on the life of the Mayor of Dehiwela Mount
Lavinia. The Mayor says that this comes as his reward for getting
rid of unauthorized constructions, and going after drug barons.
We do not know
whether going after drug barons is the prerogative of the Mayor
or the police, but if he is trying to clean up the borough, then
there is no question that he is a public official who needs to be
looked after by the system.
the Prime Minister says that he is perturbed about LTTE killings
in the North and the East, it cannot still be open season for elected
officials and other vulnerable individuals in the South.