Country and People First | Daily News

Country and People First

Purchasing cooking gas, a herculean task.
Purchasing cooking gas, a herculean task.

All political parties must put country and people before everything else at this time of the economic crisis that is having a domino effect dealing a crippling blow on every sphere of life of the people. Hardly had the country overcome the effects of the coronavirus pandemic when the economic crisis engulfed it with force.

The unavailability of fuel such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel and furnace oil etc., in sufficient quantities has disrupted transport affecting education, health services, production both in the public and the private sectors. It also has an adverse effect on attendance of staff in government offices, private institutions and business establishments thus reducing productivity.

The Government has now even been forced to declare every Friday as a holiday for Government Servants as an austerity measure.

The high Cost of Living coupled with inflation, especially food inflation, has drastically reduced the purchasing power of the average man leading to the closing down of many factories, business houses and even hotels.

The bus fare has increased roughly four-fold, as a result making it difficult for people to travel thereby also reducing the income of the Sri Lanka Transport Board as well as private bus operators.

The Opposition Leader who claimed that he cannot form a Government as his party has no majority in Parliament was rendered speechless and cornered badly by the interviewer at a TV interview recently when he was asked as to why he does not hold discussions seeking the support of the SLFP, the JVP and the Tamil and Muslim parties and try to get the required majority. He could only peevishly mumble that he is personally helping the country in other ways such as donating hospital equipment with funds from donors betraying the fact that he too is ‘a one man show’ of sorts.

Whatever anyone says there is a de facto All Party Government today with the participation of those willing, being sensitive to the suffering of the people from the United National Party in the person of Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Minister Manusha Nanayakkara and Minister Harin Fernando from the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena from the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, a constituent party of the ruling coalition, founded by Philip Gunawardena who when being cross-examined by counsel in an election petition case drew the comment from the judge, “it is like chopping a sandalwood tree: the more you do it the more the smell of truthfulness spreads” and was the personification of honesty.

Even if the Japanese Government insisted that there has to be a Government in which all parties officially participate and if not the Opposition has to sign agreements to grant assistance as Dr. Harsha de Silva said recently and added that it is not the done-thing it would be far better for the Opposition to do so to alleviate the suffering of the people and not face the consequences of the situation where the ultra-leftist parties ask the people to come out with katties and clubs when unable to bear the hunger anymore.

The so-called non-party protest at Galle Face Green turned out to be not so when the Opposition Leader intruding into it got a beating forcing him to withdraw instantly. It is also losing steam since the advent of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ranil Wickremesinghe.

At a time when it is said that there is a mafia under every bush and in the Excise Department of all places one wonders why the main food item rice the imported kind of which cost only Rs. 100 per kilogramme earlier has now gone up to Rs. 200, sugar up to Rs.320 and 100 grammes of chillie powder to Rs. 280 the other essential consumer items too going up in price day-by-day by large amounts of money, even after making allowance for the cost of diesel necessary for the transport is incomprehensible.

There is a common saying that it is not possible to get work done out of starving people. It is in this context that Israel chose to set up community kitchens, in kibitzes, easing the burden on the people of cooking their own food, a nutritious square meal and thereby increased productivity.

If the worst comes to the worst it is food for thought whether we also resort to that practice or continue with it if the initiative has already been taken, in the context of the current situation.

It is the indigent majority who bear the brunt of the situation in stony silence, bearing hunger without complaining being a cultural trait.

Please note that the ordinary people say that politicians are not sensitive to their suffering because all politicians are well-off.

It is the wisest thing in the current context for all to prioritize the needs of the down and work together in earnest setting aside political considerations.

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