Spice by Ginger
Jaguar, quality car on the road
I saw an announcement in
the papers that the Citroen would be here soon. It was a pretty flashy looking car. I
remember with a unique suspension system that did not make you tired at the end of a
journey. There were two other very superior makes introduced here and they were the Jaguar
and the Audi. But how many of these cars have sold here. They seem to be very popular in
other countries. The Jaguar in particular seems to interest the upper layers of American
What has the response been here and how good was the follow up salesmanship. Some
prestigious product is introduced into the market here and then the momentum in the sales
drive ebbs. It is always nice to have more quality cars on the road because they are safer
than other cars and since they last very much longer than most other cars. There is less
foreign exchange drained out of the country in the final analysis. Good sales strategies
always ropes in the marginal buyer if one has the patience.
Home away from Home
I saw another Home-away-from-Home ad for elders being advertised the other day. This
indicated that country was taking note of the need for elders to have a place to stay in
their old age. However, I feel that most of these elders homes are for those with some
means or whose children abroad can send the cash.
How about the pensioners and those who depend on the interest they get from
Presidents Fund monies and other terminal benefits. Will they find a place to rest
their heads in the evening of their lives? Will some N.G.O. who can tap foreign resources
step in to help this category of citizens?
Big time robberies
What do all these hijackings of three-wheelers for big time robberies mean? Ginger
wanted to book a three-wheeler to go for a function. The three wheeler man flatly refused
to take him saying, he was not going anywhere in the night as his friends three
wheeler had been hijacked at gun point and used for a robbery or been used as the get away
vehicle after the robbery.
Ginger forgets which exercise of the two, it was used for, but that is besides the
point. The point is that night travelling has become a dangerous business. There seems to
be a gang whose modus operandi is to commandeer some elses, vehicle and then carry out
their operation. It would be worth putting a special team of sleuths on their heels before
they cause more serious damage.
A letter to Shell Gas
and the government
May we know from the relevant authorities in Shell Gas the following. What is the
percentage of the total requirement, of LPG supplied by the Petroleum Corporation to Shell
Gas, I.e. locally produced LPG, this would naturally come cheap? Is it 5%,
15%, 25%, 35%, 40%, 50%, greater than 50 percent? What is the actual transfer price of
THIS LPG gas to Shell Gas? Why is this not shown in the equation in your full page
advertisement to justify a price hike?
This year, Year 2000, the cost increase of imported LPG is compared with 1999. What was
the price in 1999? What was the price in 1998? Is not the comparison with 1999 merely an
eye wash, as it was very low compared to 1998 Will these figures justify a price increase,
as it has been made out to be? Why was a Rs 400 million subsidy paid to Shell Gas by the
Govt. What is the justification? Was any subsidy paid by the Govt to CPC at any time for
LPG ? As this was not done and CPC still made profits, does this clearly show inefficiency
or skimming of funds?
What is the salary paid to the top five executives of Shell Gas in Sri Lanka,
individually? What are the additional allowances paid to each of them? Why was it that CPC
which produces approximately 40% of the total requirement not allowed to compete? It would
have only been correct by the consumer, and market forces would have played
Monopoly for whose benefit? I do hope answers to these questions will be forthcoming.
The public have a right to know the full story and will be the wiser. The answers to these
will certainly say it all.
Coal power plant
- Go for the second best site
Due to a technical error there had occurred a
mix up in this letter yesterday. It is published in full today.
Everyone likes electricity. Therefore the electricity demand is
growing very rapidly. However most of the electricity in Sri Lanka is consumed by the
commercial and industrial sectors. Statistics show that most of the domestic sector still
do not have access to electricity. Unfortunately both these sectors do not use efficient
systems. Waste of electricity in Sri Lanka is one of the highest in Asia. Therefore, the
present electricity demand is not real. To cater to the boosting energy demand CEB is
putting up more and more power plants.
Most recent power plants i.e. KES Kelanitissa, Barge Mounted plant, OECF power plant
and power plants in Sapugaskanda commenced without much protest. This may be due to the
reason that most of the energy generated in Sri Lanka is consumed by Colombo and suburbs
and the public who live around might get the benefits of the electricity generation
projects. Also they may be ready to bear the consequences.
However, Upper Kotmale Hydropower project got the political approval in an undemocratic
way and the proposed Coal power station at Norochcholai is still under protest for various
reasons. The UKHP project destroy seven major waterfalls including Devon and St. Clair. It
will create a disaster in Talawakele. People in Norochcholai are against the Coal power
plant for possible damages to the environment and society. The attitude and the past
record of the CEB has contributed to this situation. It is clear that the CEB is
responsible for the damages in Kukule Ganga project site and the road network.
However, all these factors and issues contribute to possible power cuts. This is the
only factor which awaken most of the consumers. Most electricity consumers do not care the
destruction of nature or the violation of individual rights and the living rights in this
game. In other words, electricity consumers do not care the cleanness of the electricity.
However , it is very undemocratic and unethical to introduce a surcharge on electrical
consumption under the emergency laws.
I do agree that coal is an option available for cheap electricity. Since CEB is very
limited in focusing on other options, they believe that coal is the only saviour for them.
CEB is putting much emphasis on the proposed coal power plant in Norochcholai. But
according to the Electrowatt Study prepared in 1988, Mundel was the best site for this
coal plant. For some reason, it was moved to the present site and that created the protest
against the same.
They suggested that Colombo was the second best site for a coal power plant station.
Since much of the public in the Norochcholai is against the coal power station, it is high
time CEB put up a coal power station in Colombo.
Kerawalapitiya end of Muthurajawela marsh is already filled with sea sand and this land
may be a very suitable site for a coal power plant. The site is very close to the harbour
and coal transportation will not be a problem. The site is more secure than the site in
Also people in Colombo use much of the electricity. The CEB says that their proposed
plant is not damaging the environment and it might be easy to convince people in Colombo
of the need to implement the project. Since CEB has already announced possible power
cuts.Therefore, why isnt the power plant located in Colombo?
W. D. H. R. Sisira Kumara
Reduce increasing fatal
It has been reported during the year 99, there were 2059 fatal accidents. It is
the duty of the society to analyse this problem and take steps to reduce it materially.
The important people involved in this problem are drivers, car owners, training
schools, government and public at large. Therefore every person should realise his
responsibility and make considerable effort to solve this problem.
Drivers should possess a valid licence after undergoing proper training. They must not
be allowed to take the car when they are ill and also after consumption of liquor. They
should not engage in over speeding, reckless driving, driving with cigarette or celltel in
their hand, etc.
It is the duty of the car owners to ensure that the drivers are properly disciplined
while on their duty. We could observe normally in the morning express buses always go over
speeding. Private buses, which are usually over crowded, follow the same suit. It is the
drivers duty to check whether the car is in a good working condition (break line,
oil) and should possess a little knowledge in car mechanism.
It is the duty of the car owners to see that only roadworthy vehicles are put on drive.
In India, there is a standard rule that any vehicle after 15 years of service should not
be put on road. I doubt whether we could implement the same rule. They also must ensure
the drivers are properly allocated for their job. Accidents occur when long distance bus
drivers fall asleep due to previous night working.
The owners also must check that their vehicle is not over loaded and also items like
flags, poles, etc. are not carried in the vehicle disturbing the public. Our training
schools should give proper training to our drivers who will understand the road signals,
parking signs, etc. In India, there is a regulation that car trainers should have a
minimum qualification of SSLC (similar to our GCE O/L). This is to ensure that trainees
are properly educated in the traffic rules and regulations.
It is the duty of our government to implement proper rules pertaining to traffic. They
should inform the public about speed limits, oneway regulations, etc.
I am aware when speed limit was reduced from 56 and 72 (within and outside city) to 50
and 70, public were not well informed by the Government. Several drivers, who were caught
for over speeding, admitted that they were unaware of the reduced speed limit.
It is the duty of the relevant authority to ensure the proper signs are put when roads
are repaired, badly damaged, etc.
Traffic Police should be alert not only in apprehending the offenders, but also in
advising the drivers to avoid problems.
It is the duty of the public to co-operate with the vehicular traffic in reducing
They should walk on the pavement and select right side of the road if there is no
Cross the road only on the pedestrian crossing.
Take adequate care before crossing the road.
Avoid walking in a disorderly manner.
Avoid throwing stones or crackers on to moving vehicles do not carry sticks/polls that
disturb the vision of the vehicle drovers.
Avoid walking along damaged roads, street-lights are not functioning, and also on
In the case of accidents, assist the authorities ensuring prompt and proper action
(medicals, police information, etc.).
I presume the well wishers of our society will pay attention to this suggestions.
S. R. Balachandran
More about gas prices
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as Minister of Finance and Planning has in
a special statement about the increase in gas prices stated that the world gas prices have
gone up-by 152 per cent and this time, she had to cut the subsidy which hitherto kept the
prices down. Under the circumstances no one should grumble about the increase as it is, at
a time when the government is hard pressed for money to fight the war at this crucial
stage having to make inroads on all sectors of the-public even though, it is an unbearable
burden for specially the middle and lower classes.
Nevertheless, with the government having a 49 per cent stake in the equity of Shell Gas
Company, the government representatives passively accepted this huge 62 per cent increase
with serial increases earlier without going into the matter deeper.
They should have borne in mind that this company is a subsidiary of the giant Royal
Dutch/Shell Group and was formed to acquire the Colombo Gas Company with its assets and
infrastructure at a comparatively low price; that they posted a 118 per cent increase in
this first quarters earnings according to the figures given by Rajpal Abeynayake in the
Sunday Times of June,4; that they are the third largest traded oil and gas comapny in the
world and that the current cost net income " rose by 118 per cent in the quarter
ended March 2000"; that they should bear at least a part of the loss.
how could they in the present circumstances honestly justify this massive increase. Of
course, it is well known that these multinational companies are solely concerned about
profits and give a tinkers damn about the poor Asian countries where some people are
dying of malnutrition and starvation, still less about this country fighting at last ditch
war against terrorists.
However, according to the columnist referred to earlier, the Argentina Centre Left
Alliance government of president Fernando de La Rua "pressed for lower fuel
prices, they were cut on Wednesday, March 23rd between 1.5 to 3.00 cents"(for the
second time) "to soften the impact on the consumers tax hike. It is
now pertinent to know how the government nominees to the Board of Directors reacted to the
decision to increase by 62 per cent and what action they took to look into the matter
before bringing this to the notice of the President/Minister of Finance and Planning.
Even at this stage, this should be pursued further. The Fair Trading Commission should
not be silent while the majority of the people are burdened beyond endurance by these
price hikes. It seems it cannot depend solely on multinational companies to satisfy our
present needs of domestic energy at affordable prices.
It shoud immediatley explore other avenues for cheaper energy as a substitute, and put
the proposals to the authorites concerned without considering this as an inevitable fate.
The government has been compelled to increase the National Security Levy and prices of
liquor and cigarettes to meet defence expenditure. That is understandable in the present
However, such increases may have not become necessary, if proper financial constraints
had been exercised from the beginning. If expenditure on salary increases - sixty to
eighty per cent for public servants, ninety per cent for Parliamentarians with two years
back wages had not been there, if purchase of luxury vehicles and new vehicles on permits
had not been permitted, if the family silver had not been sold to the multinationals
through privatisation of our national assets and temporary halt to profits being taken out
had been introduced, if expenses on tamashas had been cut, a situation where burdening the
people with such increases would have been avoided.
Upali S. Jayasekera
Vying for Goebbels award
On the letters page of the The Island of June 8 Mr. Tan Han Meng of
Malaysia said in his letter that he had heard from some Western Christian missionaries
campaigning in Malaysia for the LTTE cause how the "…Sinhalese are killing and
torturing the Tamil people and these people are waiting for an opportunity to escape into
LTTE controlled areas."
I think Mr. E. A. V. Naganathan, who also wrote to The Island on the same
day, is the best person to enlighten Mr. Meng on what is happening. He can tell Mr. Meng
how anxious he is to go back to the LTTE controlled areas from the concentration camp he
is now living in Kirillapona.
It want be long says Mr. Naganathan, dreaming of the future and quoting the
founding father of the Tamil homelands claim, that the Sinhalese as a last
resort will be asking for federalism. I am not sure whether he is a spokesman for the
Tamil people. But certainly Prabhakaran would like to use him as one, now that Mr.
Naganathan has discovered that "Tamil was the language of all state correspondence
from the time of King Vijayabahu I." Mr. Naganathan eminently deserves to win the
Goebbels Award for making black look like white.
Ants and poetry
I seek the assistance of your readers on two subjects, far apart in content from each
One, regarding ants among the busiest and most active of living things in life. No
wonder the sluggards were long ago advised by a biblical bladder to go the ant, to
consider her ways and be wise.
One notices that the small red ant is a bit of a cannibal. When they come across a
morsel, I observe they promptly cannibalise the thing in situ break it up into
bits with each ant carrying his little portion to god knows where. On the other hand the
little black ant seems to be a carrier or hauler.
These ants promptly haul the morsel away without first cannibalising it. One sees a
group of red ants crowded together round a morsel, almost standstill while black ants are
seen scurrying away with each one taking away his own loof.
Will any knowledgeable Reader or entomologist kindly confirm or otherwise elucidate as
to whether this is so or not. any reasons for this apparently diverse behaviour among
essentially the same species of Insect, whether the red ants and the black have an
ultimate destination to which they take their morsels, whether ants ever stay stationary,
except in the instance of the red ants stripping a morsel as mentioned above (and assuming
that observation is correct), whether these two varieties of ants are hostile to each
other, their relationship to their bigger red and black variety when and how they
ultimately consume these morsels etc.
Double standard on terrorism
Below are two segments of the report in todays New York times related to an
incident in Greece. Most of this report is compiled by Brits.
Britains senior military representative in Greece was gunned down here today,
just days after a special report prepared for Congress recommended sanctions against
Greece, describing it as "disturbingly passive in response to terrorist
Greek police officials said that two gunmen they identified as members of a left-wing
terrorist group, shot several times at Brig. Stephen Saunders, 53, the military
attach at the British Embassy in Athens.
In a statement that reflected British determination to press the Greek government,
Foreign Minister Robin Cook said, "I am in touch with the Greek authorities and am
offering them our full cooperation in making sure that whoever perpetrated this brutal
attack is brought to justice."
Now pause for a moment. Reflect on the first paragraph I have highlighted.
Without doubt these persons who committed this act were terrorists to these
journalists. They were not rebels, not guerillas but Terrorists.
Note the use of the Unequivocal opinion and not fact that it is left-wing terrorist.
The ones who killed Minister Gooneratne today were suspected rebels but not the ones who
killed the British Military attache in Greece!!
Now read the second paragraph I have higlighted in comments. Read what Robin Cook says.
Do you see the irony of Robin Cooks statements. Is there another word besided
hypocrisy that comes to your mind?