How much higher will the price of sugar rise to keep the “Rajavasala” Family happy?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

This lockdown is not as tough as it was expected to be. There is plenty of traffic on the roads, and very little stopping by the Police. People are also moving about, and most of those who called for a lockdown see it as a play of presidential politics: giving what you asked for, but not the way you wanted it.

During the last few. ‘lockdown’ days the figures of those infected with Covid-19 has gone up considerably, and the numbers, dead too. Those infections would have been before the lockdown began. So let’s keep watching the infection numbers and the death toll, in the coming weeks and months. Are we not sure of the deadly figures given by the Washington University some months ago, or the WHO and Medical Experts more recently?

Who cares? We have a Minister of Health who sees this as the task of the gods.

Now that the Cabinet Ministers have been shaken up, and the Delta variant of Corona has its own play, let’s all raise our hands and call for the help of the gods, with the Minister of Health Rambukwelle, doing a special dance at his favourite Devale.

By the way, do we have enough coconuts, or can we obtain them at a special reduced Covid pooja price, to get all the nuts needed to smash at every devale?

We will have to do without sugar for all the syrups that will be made at different devales to please the deities -at Seenigama, too.

We should not worry too much about these Covid and pandemic problems. There are reasons to be happy and cheerful, too. Why not celebrate all the departments and state institutions that have been transferred to Sports Minister Namal Putha, as Minister of Digital Technology and Entrepreneur Development. The Rajapaksas are now keen to have a properly trained and politically educated member as the next Prime Minister. Isn’t this sweet?

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The price of sugar has risen to Rs 210 a kilo.

Lasantha Alagivawanna, State Minister of Cooperative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection, says this is unfair and even unjust. But there is nothing he can do about it. Isn’t this the real Rajapaksa power, where sugar scores more than the government.

This is the sweet tale that began many months ago when the Customs Duty on sugar was suddenly brought down from Rs. 50 to 25 cents. Was it for the benefit of the consumer? What nonsense, it was for the full benefit of the importers and traders. They are the people who matter today.

In this sugary tale, amid the Covid pains, the price of sugar has been rising week by week, till it is now Rs 210. Is this because the Health Authorities have said that real ‘plain tea’, without sugar even on your palm, will help beat the Covid virus? How much higher will the price of sugar rise to keep the Rajavasala Family happy?

When this sugar situation was raised by a senior journalist, on a TV programme, a government MP was keen to say that a leading supermarket chain had advertised in the newspapers that sugar in those supermarkets was Rs. 95, and also that all SATHOSA shops also sold sugar at such a price.

What a great discovery. How many supermarkets does the chain have – a 100 or even more?

We know that SATHOSA has 450 outlets countrywide. How many provinces, districts, towns and villages does this country have, to share the sweet sugar of a supermarket chain and Sathosa?

Isn’t this real sugary relief to the public?

Keep dreaming of sugary days. Keep living amidst bitter realities.

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Mangala Memories

There is much written these days about the life of Mangala Samaraweera, whose recent demise was certainly a shocker, especially to the political trends in this country.

He is a man I was associated with in both political and civil society activities. There is much to be recalled in his role as a politician and civil activist. One thing I will remember is his action as a Cabinet Minister against children worshipping them. At one such event, in a school, as a child who came up to him began the worship, he stopped it. He made it clear that such worship should be to the sangha, parents, and teachers, but certainly not to politicians!

That is a call that needs more and more repetition today.

I also recall the major role he played in making the SLT a reality, as the truly profitable and effectively functioning communications establishment in the country. As a trade union activist of the SLFP, he addressed the gathering of all Telecommunication Trade Unions in 199i, and was able to persuade the toughest opponents of the privatisation policy and get their full backing for what is now the SLT.

He will also be remembered for the role he played in organising the Sudu Nelum Movement, in a fight against racism in the country; and the lead he gave to organising the “Book and Brick” donation campaign to rebuild the Jaffna University, which was burned down during a UNP government.

In a more recent YouTube interview on his trends in political thinking and strategies, he refused to be called a Sinhala Buddhist. “I am a Sri Lankan Buddhist,” he said. Stressing that Buddhist teaching had no goal of ethnicity or racism

He was certainly a politician of valour, who will be missed badly in a country suffering from the politics of dishonesty.

May he attain the peace of Nirvana!

Courtesy:The Island