Let’s start with two anecdotes.
In the 1960s, when my father pulled up at the local Shell gas station, a smiling gas attendant in uniform (a khaki shirt and shorts) came up to the driver’s seat and asked what he needed. While refueling, the attendant was wiping the windshield and checking the engine oil. Toilets were clean. Air pump worked. To our delight, we were handed out a large, colorful road map for free. Sounds like a dream. All this for about Rs. One (1) in a gallon of gasoline!
Next anecdote. In 1978, I visited a former classmate, Brian Howie, at Kataboola Estate in Nawalapitiya. Bryan was his SD (Assistant Superintendent) and his bungalow was in a secluded part of the property with a small hydroelectric plant in a very secluded area. Her Mrs. B.’s government, which had nationalized the property, had recently collapsed and the property was now under new management.
I noticed that the bungalow was sparsely furnished and the corners of the living room were blackened. Brian said that the former bus conductor and “SD” former resident didn’t know how to use the kitchen stove, so he put together some bricks and Lipa in the living room to cook. Meanwhile, all the appliances and furniture in the bungalow had been stolen by the same man.
Janasatu There are fake rings that mean “owned by people”. But as we all know, the term instead means a den of thieves, costing people millions in losses. A place where perks are given and loot is free. There are hundreds of government-owned companies, corporations, and “other institutions,” but perhaps only a handful are profitable. The rest are leeches that suck the blood of the nation.
Need corporations/committees for salt, pottery, wood, cashews, lotteries, fishing, cinema, Ayurvedic medicines, handicrafts? For newspapers? They are so bloated with employees that their raison d’être appears to be the hiring, perks, and looting I mentioned above.
I recently read that SriLankan Airlines, CTB, Petroleum Corporation and Ceylon Power Board are the biggest loss makers. Godzilla in it looks like SriLankan Airlines, which reportedly lost Rs. Petroleum Corporation lost $248 billion and Rs in the first four months of the year. 628 billion in the same period. (The Oil Corporation owes billions of rupees in debt from both SriLankan Airlines and the Ceylon Electricity Board.) The Ceylon Electricity Board is like a mafia, promoting fee-earning fossil fuels while promoting renewable energy. undermines efforts to promote The crooks who run these organizations continue to trade and steal while the poorest of our population are starving.
In Hong Kong, where I lived for 20 years, there are no government-owned airlines, banks, oil companies, telephone services, LPG or electricity companies. Buses belong to the private sector. In Japan, where I live now, in addition to the Hong Kong list, railways and post offices have also been privatized, providing courteous and efficient services. Gas station services in Japan are reminiscent of the aforementioned 1960s Ceylon.
In at least one instance, Mrs. B. tried to right the folly of plantation nationalization. The De Mer family owned a thriving coconut plantation in Melsiripura. After nationalization, the estates were in such a disappointing state that Mrs. B. personally advised de Mels to take them back. Today the estate thrives under efficient management.
As a citizen, I have to admit Janasatu Fail and take steps to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
http://island.lk/the-lasting-curse-of-janasathu/ The Eternal Curse of Janasatu – The Island