|Why depend on the West?
It was reported in The Island of January 19 that Irrigation and Water Management Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera had sought the assistance of the international consultant in dam safety, Jacobs and Gibb to involve and enlist the engineering faculties of the Peradeniya and Moratuwa Universities to participate in their assignments on dam safety methods and reservoir construction in Sri Lanka.
It is only a few days back, the minister was appreciating the engineering skills of our people in the field of dam building and reservoir construction in Sri Lanka. He was speaking at the ceremony held in connection with the republication of R. L. Brohiers Ancient irrigation works in Sri Lanka. Taking examples like Parakrama Samudraya and Padaviya Wewa, he said we Sinhala people were masters of reservoir construction from the ancient times. He reiterated these facts few days later at another book launching ceremony. This time it was a D. L. O. Mendiss book. On this occasion he said he was highly pleased of having consultants like D. L. O. Mendis who has shown exemplary understanding of irrigation works in Sri Lanka. Speaker after speaker at this ceremony, including Solicitor General, Mr. Kamalasabeyson were appreciating the engineering skills of our people in the field of reservoir reconstruction.
Then the question arises, why then the Minister is looking for international consultants for reservoir construction. Surely, the Minister might not have initiated this project, because he knows very well that foreign consultants particularly from Europe have nothing to do here in Sri Lanka, specially in the field of irrigation. Then whose initiative is the project? Most probably it muust be the administrators and university dons who have been trained to ape the West.
Somewhere in early nineteen sixties, the World Bank was facing the problem of shortage of projects. In order to overcome this problem administrators mostly from Asian, African countries were taken to Washington DC, brainwashed and trained them to write project proposals and how to get the political approval for the projects.
On their return to their respective countries, they in turn trained the bureaucracy through institutions like SLIDA. They will do the job better than their masters.
Politicians may come and go, but the administrators will continue to be in the service.
Whoever comes as the Minister, he will be noosed by the World Bank. That is the job of the
administrators to which they have been trained for, and they are looked after
satisfactory. The ministers will have to face the public and they will lose at elections.
But the administrators will continue. That is why all World Bank and IMF projects
initiated by previous governments are implemented by successive governments as well.
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