We have come to the Blast Stage in Sri Lanka!
Gas explosions continue in kitchens and outside, and now there are explosions of liquid fertiliser too. It looks as if the Saubhagye Dekma thinking of presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, were in fact a Maha Pipireema Dekma – a Vision of Huge Blasts.
With nearly 500 gas blasts already on record – with at least one dead, many injured and one housewife saved by wearing her husband’s motor-bike helmet in her kitchen, this new Age of Gas-Blasts will certainly be a special chapter in the revised Mahavamsa, that should deal with realty and not the mockery of politicians.
The records of current reality in Sri Lanka will also certainly include the recent verbal blast – obscene and vulgar – by none other than the yellow robed head of the Presidential Task Force on “One Country, One Law”. Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara, known as a thera, surely gave a new meaning to the “One Country, and No Law” concept, which is the stuff of crooked politics and One Family Power.
Shortly after being sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, made it clear that he had been chosen by the Sinhala-Buddhist majority in this country. Is it the unfettered respect for this majority that has kept the President (and the government) wholly silent on this shameful yellow-robed insult to the very traditions of Buddhism, and the Vinaya of the Maha Sangha? Let’s keep hoping that more members of the Sangha would not take an example of this Gnanasara blast, and behave with much more wisdom of a yellow robe.
The Gas Blasts remain the topic of today. Having taken over from the old Western Capitalist Shell Company, Litro is today the biggest supplier of cooking gas in the country. It was certainly not laughed at although competing with Laugfs. But the situation today is certainly much more than a huge laugh, and a calamitus show of disaster in dealing with the gas business, and the security of the people.
So many decades since it took over the gas business from Shell, Litro owned by the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, has shown it has little regard to ensure the safety of the gas-using public. It has shown a major weakness and failure of the State, in ensuring the proper and safe conditions for the sale and use of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) in this country.
Just this week, after a prolonged period of deliberate and escape intended lying about the safety of LP cylinders, Litro was forced to place a full-page advertisement in sections of the media, about the safety conditions on the handling and use of LPG. It was a very detailed advertisement; but, why was all this not told to the public and users of LPG for so many years?
Why was it necessary to keep all this secret from the public and gas users through so many decades?
More, importantly, why did the Minister, State Minister and key officials in charge of this subject, handled by a State-owned company, keep silent about all this, and the huge faults this company (and Laughs) too had committed in altering the composition volume of the two volatile hydrocarbons – propane and butane, carried in gas cylinders, which caused gas leaks and the many disasters that have taken place.
It is time the members of Parliament, whether in government or Opposition, decided to take speedy legal action, and if necessary, with the passage of any new legislation, too, against all those from ministers to company chairpersons, board members and key officials, who saw the companies make huge profits, gaining crooked cuts from suppliers, and placing the public at huge risk.
This is certainly a matter where party differences should not apply. Members elected to Parliament from whatever party, and those appointed there too, should be united in saving the lives of people, even though politics today is a huge play of corruption.
Litro and Laugfs should both make good, illustrated leaflets, giving all the information on gas use and safety as mentioned in the recent advertisement, and give them to the public who will get replacement cylinders, purchase new cylinders, and also have them available with the gas agents for necessary public distribution.
This huge Blast Stage in Sri Lanka should also make our civilian gas users take a necessary step to give an award to the person who had the courage to initiate knowledge and information, to the State and the Public, on the dangers of the volume changes in gas cylinders. He may be a person CID questioned on political complaints, with ministerial power (not so rare today). He remained The Great Saviour of the People – none other than Mr. Thushan Gunawardene, former Executive Director of the Consumer Affairs Authority.
As 2021 draws to a close, and celebrations and festivities are being planned for Christmas and the New Year, let’s launch a new annual celebration of the Great Saviour of the People!