Feature Article

UPFA promises gone with the wind

[TamilNet, Saturday, 26 June 2010, 06:32 GMT]
The United People’s Freedom Alliance which had lavished promises prior to April general election including a monthly increase of 2500 rupees to public servants, on the contrary, has increased the price of essentials like fuel, flour, milk products and other services hitting the common man who had been already struggling to make ends meet. The Sinhalese people, kept under the spell of the ‘Victory’ of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime over the Tamils and the propaganda of 'Mahinda Chintana', but are becoming frustrated by the reality of spiralling prices of essential utility items while Rajapaksa regime is calculating ways to to benefit economically by playing the 'geo-political' card with the powers that are locked in a corporate race.

One cannot help being reminded of the French princess who told starving people to ‘eat cake if they do not have bread’ as Sri Lanka Prime Minister Saturday told people to eat more rice as the solution to wheat price. He added that the price of wheat flour and bread should be further increased so that many people would turn to eating rice, according to a report in Sri Lanka Daily Mirror.

The UPFA government had earlier cited the war as the cause of increasing prices but the prices keep soaring even after the end of war an year ago. 200 billion rupees have been allocated to Sri Lankan Defence Ministry in the annual budget of 2010, which is to be submitted in the SL Parliament shortly.

The main opposition party alleges that 110 millions rupees had been spent on the recent International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards ceremony. This kind of unnecessary and excess spending ultimately hurts the poor people of the country, they point out.

The price of flour, the basic requirement for daily consumption, has been increased by Rs. 10.50 bringing the price up to Rs. 73.50 from Rs. 63.00 Consequently, bakeries have started selling a loaf of bread weighing 400 grams at Rs. 44.00 from earlier Rs. 40.00

Among the many, plantation workers who consume food made of wheat flour for all three meals of the day are the hardest hit by the price hike.

Meanwhile, the price of Shell gas has been increased by Rs. 219 and Laugh gas by Rs. 325 citing reason the price increase in the world market on May 6.

Besides, in June the prices of two essential items have been increased. The price for 400 g milk powder has been increased by Rs. 19 and one kilogram milk powder has been increased by Rs. 48. According to the increase, 400 g milk powder has been increased from Rs. 225 to Rs. 244. One kilogram of milk powder has gone up to Rs. 598 from Rs. 550.

The increase of prices of essential items causes terrible hardship to poor people, patients, children and babies. Meanwhile, Health Ministry in a survey said fifty percent of the children in the north and east are malnourished. The survey has further revealed that children from 12 months to 35 months old are underweight.

Like other essential food items, the transport is also considered as essential by the ordinary masses. The transport fees also have been increasing monthly. The President of the Private Bus Owners Association recently pointed out that the transport charges have been increased at least 10 times since 2002.

The increase in the bus fare has been fixed according to the price structure based on the increase of prices of twelve items including fuel, tyre, and tube, he said.

The president of the association said he is planning to increase the bus fare by five or seven rupees as the authorities concerned have not provided subsidy to private bus sector.

Meanwhile, opposition politicians in South, who blame large scale corruption in government sectors such as Land, Health, Transport and Resettlement ministries as the main hurdle against improving the economy of the common Sinhalese.


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