An independent survey has revealed that the prices of essential goods in the urban sector have gone up by 21.6 per cent over the past year. This is more than double the Colombo Consumer Price Index figure which is 9.8 per cent. Such bogus statistics are the worst forms of lies and millions of people are supposed to eat them and they probably get political indigestion.
The survey was only on the basic expenses like food, fuel, electricity, communication and transportation borne by urban dwellers around the country. It has excluded the health and education expenses on the basis that they are provided free by the government. Whether a person can totally depend on the public health service alone and education without private tuition and other education related expenses are different questions. The survey has also excluded house rent as it is too complicated to measure.
Friday’s fuel price hike will be another blow not only to the urban dwellers but to all people specially the majority poor who are already struggling to make ends meet in their lives. The fuel price hike has already sparked off a chain reaction and charges of tri-shaws or the Tuk Tuk-- the poor man’s most common mode of transport has gone up. Other charges in the transport services and private buses will be demanded to increase soon. This will mean an increase in prices starting with basic needs like food. Another severely affected sector will be the fisher folk. Latest fuel price hikes will be disturbing news for the fisher community which has just marked the first death anniversary of their colleague Antony Warnakulasuriya (35) who sacrificed his life on February 15, last year in Chilaw during a protest over last year’s fuel price hikes. Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne admitted that the fuel price hike would affect sea going fishermen who are already facing a serious problem due to the unchecked poaching by Indian counterparts.
The news that the Ceylon Electricity Board is planning a increase in power prices by about 25 per cent will be another deadly blow to millions of people who are struggling for existence. The new Petroleum Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has told at a new conference on Saturday that the CEB owed the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) about Rs. 24 billion. The CPC said it would also increase the price of low sulphurd furnace oil sold to CEB from Rs 75 to Rs. 100 a litre and high sulphur furnace oil to Rs. 90 from Rs. 65 with effect from April. As a result the Public Utilities Commission, Sri Lanka’s power regulator, had already set in motion a process to raise power prices.
The crisis in the CPC worsened with the infamous Hedging Deal and debacle which could have been avoided had those responsible obeyed the Supreme Court decision in 2008 and opted to give people the benefit by reducing the fuel prices.
Following rights cases by some civic minded citizens on the grounds that their fundamental rights had been violated owing to high fuel prices, the Supreme Court which was shocked by the sheer magnitude of corruption involving the Hedging Deal in November 2008 had given two rulings—one to reduce the price of a litre of petrol to Rs 100 from Rs 120 and the other to stop payments to the banks concerned. But the government decided to disobey the country’s highest court and ignore awarding the benefit to the public. If the government had obeyed the court ruling the country would not have been faced with the prospect of having to pay as much as 400 million US dollars to three foreign banks. Since 2008 the fuel prices have sky rocketed throwing millions of people from the frying pan to a blazing fire.
Whose blunders have led this crisis within a crisis is the question that needs to be pondered over and again. Is it poor management, wrong political decision making, favouritism over massive corruption, or all of these?
These kind of editorials have been written for far too long. But the questions remains at large. Either we should all come forward to save this country from this corrupt & bankrupt regime or stomach and bare all Increases / humiliations that is throne at the us.
Mutud Monday, 25 February 2013 02:05 PM
Thugs cant run a country. They can only ruin.
R.Sunthar Monday, 25 February 2013 12:39 AM
All these and more dear Mr. Editor.
Pol Pot Monday, 25 February 2013 03:38 AM
Our fault! We voted this Government in!
PRASANNAJIT Monday, 25 February 2013 04:39 AM
We didnt vote, but still suffering.
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