Letters to the Editor | Sunday Observer

Letters to the Editor

Wiping out corruption

I was impressed by the Spectator coloum, where he says, “The general public almost without exception now equate politicians with bribery and corruption”. (Sunday Observer of May 13)

He is absolutely right!

When you count the number of times the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka has been broken time and again since independence, you will find that almost all major violations were made by the politicians who were the very people who put the Rule of Law in the Statute Book in the first place!

History has taught us one thing, and that is: no country, company, or institution can expect to overcome bribery and corruption when the man at the TOP is even slightly corrupt. You can only attempt to wipe out corruption if you start with zero tolerance from the top; and the flow of the ‘no nonsense’ attitude from the top does not take long to reach all sections of the organization.

My experience is that only when a President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Chairperson, or Leader of an organization is completely free of corruption that discipline will flow downwards, from the top of the apex to the bottom of the triangle.

To expect a Utopian leader in this day and age is also looking for a Mahathma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or Lee Kuan Yew, who we don’t easily come by. The other tragedy is that politicians are like sticks rooted in the mud. They wallow in the mud when they can’t resist it and wash in the water (like wearing white or when visiting the chief priest of a place of worship) when they see it.

You are doing a good job Madam. Please keep it up.

Prof. M.T.A. Furkhan

Tnl TV broadcast and disconnection by trc

I am confused about the activity carried out by the TRC. The reason given was that CSN was cancelled a few months ago by the Ministry of Mass Media and so it is justifiable. TNL is a TV Broadcaster; so what rights does the TRC have to disconnect the TNL plant and to take their equipment?

As a Sri Lankan citizen, I wish to enlighten the followings, so that the public will be aware about the scenario.

Sri Lankan Budget introduced the following taxes with regard to the telecommunication sector:

Those using mobile/fixed line phones the taxes applied are, cess Levy 2.04%, NBT 2% VAT 15% and TRC levy 25% on calls.(For internet data TRC levy is 10% and other taxes no change). However, your phone bill will say, NBT 2.6%, cess 2.04%, TRC levy 25.51% and VAT 19.52% totaling to 49.67% of taxes levied from a customer on cumulative arithmetical system. E.g. if you reload Rs: 100 your talk time is restricted to Rs: 50.33 cents only, and the balance goes as taxes. (If in doubt, please check your phone bill) Similar taxes are followed by Cable/Digital TV operators.

With the new amendment, TRC levy on the data/internet package, is changed to 10%. Calls via whatsup, IMO viber etc are free but Cable TV transmission only can view the data/music entertainment, if so why 25% TRC levy, what is the logic in this?

TNL comes under the Ministry of Mass Media, and is not a cable TV broadcaster. If so why did TRC make such a decision to disconnect the TNL Plant and to take the TNL belongings?

In my understanding, TV Broadcaster income raised by way of advertisement is liable to pay NBT2% and VAT 15%, and no such taxes are applicable to the TRC. According to website and newspaper articles TNL chairman says due to invoice dispute payments were not made since 2017. I do not know on what grounds such payments are involved with TRC!

TRC has many responsibilities, to serve the country and take action on those evading taxes. Are they doing their duties properly to date?

A pioneer cable TV operator, liable to pay millions as taxes, is not disclosed, why? Who is behind it, the public partly knows it and I look forward to their reply in the newspapers. In the Northern Province also such a drama is happening as disclosed in a website, why is the TRC unable to take action on it?

If TRC payments are delayed a penalty is imposed. On what ground is the TNL liable and paid up to 2017, in which case a penalty could be charged. So do we need to be paying millions of people’s money as salaries and maintenance to have a TRC in Sri Lanka? It is up to the public to respond. I am not against the TRC, all I need is to disclose to the public for their awareness and opinion on these issues raised in these days.


Plans to acquire land from the Knuckles Forest Reserve

There are various allegations regarding this proposal. The Agriculture Minister is reported to have sought a detailed report on the area earmarked for development work.This matter has been discussed at a Cabinet meeting.

This is a very valuable Forest Reserve. We should not use this, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, for haphazard development work.

The Knuckles mountain range features 34 peaks ranging in height between 1,900 metres and 900 metres.

The Knuckles mountain range lies in central Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matale and Kandy. The villagers traditionally referred to this area as Dumbara Kanduvetiya, meaning mist-laden mountain range.The higher montane area is often robed in thick layers of cloud. In addition to its aesthetic value, the range is of great scientific interest.

The name Knuckles came from a series of recumbent folds and peaks which resemble the knuckles of a clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy District.

More than 34 percent of Sri Lanka’s endemic trees, shrubs and herbs are found only in these forests. The Knuckles range is home to mammals such as, wild boar, spotted deer, giant squirrel, barking deer, purple faced monkey, mongoose, porcupines, etc. Many varieties of lizards also live here.

Knuckles features a great diversity in its forest cover, e.g. dry green forests, montane forests, sub montane forests, dry and wet pathana, sevana, etc.

It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The average rainfall of the highland areas of Knuckles is 5,000 Mm

Knuckles is a major tourist attraction. It is our duty to protect this natural paradise for our future generations.

D. Weeratunga Nugegoda

Right of Reply:

Accusations against SLC management biased and unfair

With cricket election battles heating up, a reader responds to an article in the Sunday Observer last week titled Will those glory days of cricket ever dawn again?

The article in it’s entity is an attack on Thilanga Sumathipala, past President of the Cricket Board who is supposed to have the support of over 80% of the stakeholders who had apparently nominated Sumathipala for the post of President to be elected at the election that was to be held on May 31, 2018.

The story by the Spectator is one sided, when one reads through as nothing just and fair and meaningful seems to have been done during the last two years of management of the SLC by the elected Executive Committee headed by Sumathipala.

Though the Spectator appear to have been blind to the successes and the hard work put in by the EXCO, “What status does Nishantha Ranathunga hold to contest for the position of President” when in 2015 he was appointed Secretary to an Interim Committee to run the SLC with the patronage of the Mahinda Rajapaksa’s governance?

Ranathunga allegedly abused his position as Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket to award his family concern the CSN TV broadcasting rights of SLC International matches. The question arises as to how and why Sumathipala didn’t object to his nomination nor why the Election Committee did not disqualify him.

As an ardent fan of cricket, and as a past cricketer of a school in the Gampaha District I have played school and club cricket over a period of time. Though, not involved in cricket administration as at present, I follow the game without reservations, be it domestic premier matches or international matches whenever a foreign team is on inbound tour.

The Cricket Board elections had no flaw in the nominations and it is shocking to note that Ranathunga chose to file action for an Interim Order to prevent a just and fair election fixed as set out by Sri Lanka Cricket and approved by the Sports Minister.

While the SLC had conformed and complied with the Sports Minister’s instructions, the stay order of the election is sure to ruin the successes of the Sri Lanka team in the incoming tours by South Africa in July and August and the England team in October and November.

Credit should go to Thilanga Sumathipala and the Executive Committee for managing the Cricket Board which was known to be heavily in debt and to turn around the SLC into a profitable Board. According to the SLC Annual Report, Cricket Associations, and Clubs have been paid Millions to develop the infrastructure besides which plant,equipment and cricket gear have been donated to improve the game island wide, while player fees have been raised by 30%.

Unfounded, malicious, baseless and bogus allegations which is brought up each time an SLC election is held is a racket continuing when Thilanga Sumathipala contests as President.

It is about time that the SPECTATOR knew that Nishantha was NO match for Thilanga at the SLC elections.

Performances to win matches are in the hands of the players and backup staff. Any test playing country could suffer defeat after defeat. Time will solve the problems with good performances by the players in the near future.

While this is so, a media release by an international network AL JAZEERA have dug into a garbage pit with worldwide publicity to say “ Galle Stadium is Pitch Fixing “ and have named a couple of cricketers and stadium officials.

This appears a set up scandal by those opposing Thilanga.

Sri Lanka as a country should be happy and proud to have a man like Thilanga Sumathipala to hold onto the mantle of Sri Lanka Cricket for some more time as the Sports Law provides. The last two years the SLC was much better managed compared to Interim Committees. I wish to see the same EXCO returned at an early election rather than a Sports Ministry management.

Jude Bastianz