More Spending: Less Dollars | Daily News

More Spending: Less Dollars

Grow your own food and contribute to the country’s economy.
Grow your own food and contribute to the country’s economy.

The need for austerity has to be repeatedly emphasized in a context where even the very educated think that a life of spendthrifts can be led when the country has only just begun to come out of an unprecedented economic crisis. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said at the very outset that there will have to be restrictions in the use of fuel, and because as anyone knows we are not an oil producing country.

Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said some time ago that inflation has come down because the people consume less today adding that, for instance, they cannot afford to get all the petrol they need, overlooking the fact that more dollars are needed for more fuel imports.

The cue should be taken from President J.R. Jayewardene who walked early in the morning from Braemar to head of Ward Place to buy vegetables and fruits brought there by village women and ate godamba roti and seeni sambol at a tea kiosk whenever he went to Town Hall to vote at elections. He made it the practice of those in the New Parliament Complex also to eat village vegetables when during his tenure, a soup plate of village produced parboiled brown rice, with kebella or thumba dalu ambula, kiri ala, kohila dalu and kohila ala curry etc. with a chunk of kelawalla fish was served to them.

Today also, the accent should be on eating low country vegetables such as bandakka, karawila, pathola, wetakolu, kekiri, wattakka, dambala etc. and green leaves like gotukola, kan-kung, mukunuwenna, sarana, thampala and even kiri anguna kola and kara kola that grows wild and export the high grade upcountry vegetables that cost a great deal more to grow using imported agrochemicals, and consume only the low grade vegetables locally. This applies to locally grown fruits as well.

Incidentally, Vasudeva Nanayakkara in power during the rosier era when the country went bankrupt lamented that all the best high quality fish is exported, denying it to the local consumer. Today, not only fish but vegetables like carrots, beet root, salad leaves, beans, capsicum, rhubarb, leeks, knol-khol, cabbage, cauliflower etc. should be exported to avoid being spendthrifts and bring in dollars.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently acknowledged by all as the leader most worthy to represent the whole country, without any reservation, is mindful of the fact that austerity and thrift are sine qua non in a situation such as the present. His political opponents who attack him at every turn criticized him even for participating in international events, being unmindful of the fact that even his attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and the recent coronation ceremony of Prince Charles enabled him to meet a large number of world leaders at no additional expense to the country, saving money on separate trips.

Even some businessmen are trying to defeat his attempts at working for the welfare of the people, for instance, the egg producers not cooperating with the authorities to provide the commodity at a reasonable price. Eggs are necessary for children to meet their nutritional needs. Dr. Chandra Fernando asked a young child taken for treatment to him by the child’s father what the most complete food is, and, himself, answered the question that it is eggs. The doctor had passed out from Colombo Medical Faculty in 1967 and had been a House Officer at Wathupitiwala Base Hospital, Nittambuwa in 1971 when he had been taken by the Police on suspicion of being complicit in the April insurrection and being tied with a rope to a jeep dragged along the ground which had made him a nervous wreck for life.

It had, nevertheless, not affected his healing capacity, a patient taking treatment from him going to his nursing home after two weeks finding him gone abroad on a visit to his London hospital telling the retired District Medical Officer acting for him that his ticket would be there. He had told the patient that he never keeps tickets and remembers all patients, their ailments and medicines prescribed vouching for his sound mental and other faculties.

He spent his last days at the Wanawasala Piriven Raja Maha Viharaya, Kelaniya providing free medical services and teaching English to the young monks there, according to its Chief Incumbent. His death by suicide was prompted by terminal kidney disease.

Even after Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev’s declaration in 1958 that socialism will come about in future not by revolution but by evolution Cuba succeeded in launching a revolution. Fidel Castro was a lawyer educated in North America. Pre-revolutionary Cuba was a dictatorship while we are a democracy, of course, sometimes defined as a fools’ Government because people vote in waves, fooled by demagogues, yet no one succeeding in staging a revolution although the legal position is once successful it is not criminal and vice-versa.


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