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Increase in electricity rates and plight of senior citizens

22 April 2013 06:30 pm - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The increase in electricity costs is the latest to hit the public, especially the lower and middle class who are desperately attempting to live in an economically sustainable environment. It appears that all those in charge of public welfare, the coterie of Ministers and deputies have forgotten that what the people expect from them is not some impossible utopia but a realistic attitude towards seeing that they have a little bit of the amenities that their representatives appear to be enjoying with a total lack of concern for the people who gave them the vote.

Today there is a break down in health services; in fact one has only to visit any provincial or base hospital to see the lack of facilities’ in them. Beds are limited and more often than not one sees two or even three patients on a bed; the doctors tend to prescribe drugs which the hospital pharmacy does not have and so patients who can ill afford have to borrow money to get the prescribed drug. One must say, given the facilities available that the doctors do go through a great deal of trouble to at least temporarily give relief to the numerous patients who trek into their hospitals from distant places. But then for the slightest sniffle one would hear that a politician has entered a private hospital and one wonders who pays the exorbitant prices they charge, maybe this is one of the many perks politicians enjoy! As a one time well known politician said on TV news programme, the politicians pay only Rs 2000 for their personal electricity consumption. One wonders whether with the electricity hike they too will have   to pay the new rates or whether once again like everything else the electricity bills they receive too will not reflect the new price revision !

In fact it is seldom that we see any politician waiting for a crowded bus or train, we people are the commoners, the discards whose only purpose appears to be, to pay indirect taxes for their purchase on essential consumer goods.

It really is sad that the government does not consider the plight of the people who are often called to bear the brunt of their confused policies. During the thirty years war successive governments while promising the long awaited utopia urged the people to sacrifice and tighten their belts since the government had to bear the war costs. As the euphoria of the war victory diminished the people heaved a sigh of relief cause they believed rather foolishly and optimistically that at least a fraction of the money spent on the war will be diverted to ease the burdens they had so stoically borne , but that was not to be , now the latest concept the government is placing emphasis is not the sacrifice slogan but rather we must spend the money we have to develop our life patterns. Leaving aside the marginalised many of whom have not yet received their Samudri allowance what about the fixed wage earner and the retired senior citizens especially those who have retired before 2006. The promise of rectifying the anomaly of their pensions is yet in abyss and many must be wondering how they can bear the increase in electricity rates.  

Most public servants and retired employees from the private sector, have spent all their terminal benefits and savings on educating children / given away children in marriage/ extending their house. They do not have a regular monthly income for their day to day expenses and heavily dependent on the mercy of their children. Their children too may have been settled down elsewhere and not keen in inheriting the house owned by their parents. Finally, the aging couple is left with only a house, but without cash for their survival. A friend of mine sent me information regarding a new method of helping these senior citizens which has come into operation in some countries in the west. A new type of credit has been introduced in the name of ‘Reverse Mortgage’ and has been established . The definition ‘Reverse Mortgage’ it is a   type of mortgage in which a homeowner can borrow a monthly fixed installment of money over a period of 25 years, against the value of his or her house. No repayment of the mortgage (principal or interest) is required until the borrower dies or the home is sold. After accounting for the initial mortgage amount, the rate at which interest accrues, the period of the loan and rate of house and property price appreciation, the transaction is structured so that the loan amount will not exceed the value of the house over the life of the loan.





Often, the lender will require that there can be no other lieu’s against the house. Any existing lieu’s must be paid off with the proceeds of the reverse mortgage. In America the government itself is assisting those who want this type of assistance. Perhaps Helpage in Sri Lanka might be able to seek the assistance of one of the private banks in our country and work out the logistics since the website http://www.ncoa.org/news-ncoapublications/publications/ncoa_reverse_mortgage_booklet which has the details of such a project. The Ministry in charge of the welfare of senior citizens too can activate themselves to see how they can help the ever increasing number of senior citizens to live their twilight years in some type of comfort and security.
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  Comments - 3

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  • Ravi Tuesday, 23 April 2013 08:03 AM

    This kings hits people of the country every day blow the belt.

    Ravi Tuesday, 23 April 2013 08:08 AM

    At least they must increase the retirement age to 60.

    m.h Niamdeen Tuesday, 23 April 2013 05:41 AM

    Facts are true,but no one to take action in near future !!


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