1 October, 2020

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Let’s Bhutanize Sri Lanka

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

The term ‘Bhutanization’ was first used in relation to Sri Lanka by the late Rajiv Gandhi.  This was when he was India’s Prime Minister and in that capacity arm-twisted a beleaguered J.R. Jayewardene into signing an agreement that did nothing for Sri Lanka and indeed was crafted in a way that it could not do anything for Sri Lanka.  The gloating is evident in the term used, especially considering the nature of Indo-Bhutan relations.  The political term relevant was ‘protectorate’.

Twenty six years later and after India basically tore the agreement to pieces (while insisting that it is still in force in the manner that a man with 20-20 vision calls black ‘white’) big-brother next door has not given up on Bhutanization.  We are not crystal gazers, but suffice to say that given the hiding that the IPKF received at the hands of the LTTE when that outfit was far weaker than it was bested by the Sri Lankan security forces, Bhutanization a la Rajiv Gandhi would cost India.

Be that as it may, the term has its uses. Bhutan is not Paradise and being No 1 in terms of ‘Gross National Happiness’ doesn’t mean sorrow is non-existent.  On the other hand, Bhutan took a firm decision to turn its agriculture 100% organic, banning the sales of pesticides, herbicides and other chemical inputs, relying totally on animal and farm waste for fertilizer.

What’s Sri Lanka’s ‘happiness’ situation?  We are less happy than Bhutan but happier than the LTTE-harangued Sri Lanka.  A lot of this can be attributed to the 1978 Constitution and Amendments thereto, as well as the abuse of power, corruption, thuggery, the periodic unleashing of violence by state actors operating with the knowledge that there are loopholes galore to escape through.  But even if Sri Lanka was not handicapped by any of this and did not have to deal with the inevitable difficulties of post-conflict recovery, would this be heaven on earth?

Well, in terms of happiness, if it has anything to do with resilience and coping, Sri Lanka wouldn’t be a whiny nation.  And yet, we are a poisoned land, a country whose soils are drenched with deadly chemicals in the name of greater productivity.  We have weak laws and weaker implementation and this allows industries to pollute.  Sri Lanka is saddled by an institutional arrangements plagued by flaws exploited by sections of a scientific and medical community that have happily divested themselves of ethics, giving unscrupulous peddlers in unnecessary and/or inferior drugs a free hand.  Sri Lanka is one of many dumping grounds for food products (like milk powder) that people in the producing countries would not touch, given contamination fears for example.  Sponsorships, freebies, outright purchase of ‘friendly opinion’ and sneaking representatives into decision-making bodies are only some of the devices available for the unscrupulous.

The bottom line is we are a poisoned nation.  If there’s one place to start, then it’s food production.  We don’t need high yielding seeds doctored with terminator genes if we went back to the lower yielding but more nourishing local rice cultivars, which are far more environment-friendly and do not require poison-drenching to flourish.  We don’t need nutria-boosts a la ‘scaled up nutrition’ if we went organic with our traditional varieties which are far more wholesome.  In both the above scenarios, lower yields are compensated by the greater density of nutrition.  The economics that object are not innocent, one must note.

Such a shift would require support by way of revamping laws surreptitiously scripted to favor multinational poisoners to the detriment of local farmers invested in organic practices and traditional varieties.  It would require a paradigm shift in development-thinking.  The war on terrorism was won because a nation realized the worth of the saying attahi attano nato (one’s palm alone ensures shelter).

For too long we have placed faith in models whose success is suspect.  Bhutan is going to a place we’ve come from.  The road back would be hard, but not unfamiliar. Yet.  What is required is a Bhutanization of thinking where it is acknowledged that a) we need home-grown models (and of course food), and b) we don’t have any too many options.

We either allow ourselves to be poisoned fooling ourselves that it is a by-Sri Lankans, with-Sri Lankans and for-Sri Lankans strategy we have adopted, or we let ourselves be Bhutanized to freedom, health and happiness.   

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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    As with anything its moderation really. If its a bastard hard to kill use the chemical stuff. Switch to the natural weed killer when cruising. Its a good idea to distance oneself from chemical weed killer anyway. Its a petrochemical byproduct. Oil runs out and so will the fertiliser eventually.

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      MS, Dude, you really are scraping the bottom of the barrel- Beating a dead horse to death!
      There are other MASSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS unfolding before our eyes in the NAME OF DEVELOPMENT by the Rajapakse Brotherhood of fools..
      A Chinese Company is building a PORT CITY in front of Galle Face- for more tourist hotels and a Formula 1 race track. BUT NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT has been done. We know that when sand is consolidated in one place, upstream and down stream erosion will take place. The new port construction in Fort has eroded the Mount Lavinia beach as the Deputy Mayor pointed out at a book launch on Public Space at the ARTI.
      With a guy who does not have a BA degree calling himself Minister of Economic Development – Basil Rajapake – the clown who thinks that Casinos and low end service providing to cheap tourists is DEVELOPMENT – you do not need to blame the WORLD BANK, IMF or Multinational Corporations that manufacture fertilizer. It is the POLICY MAKERS of LANKA STUPID!
      Of course WB and IMF are contributing to the ruin of Lanka – today funding (giving LOANS) to Gota the goon’s Ministry of Defense via the Urban Development Authority and funding the militarization of Lanka for city “beautification” and guess what – de-development of society and governance.
      There is NO transparency with World Bank funds give the UDA under Ministry of Defense. The World Bank talks big about GOOD GOVERNANCE – but is contributing funds to the militarization and deterioration of governance structures by the Rajapassa brothers who are looting Lanka…
      Finally, Dude MS if you care about the environment and disasters in the making Hambantota fauna and flora is at risk – please take a trip to Hambantota and see where all the loans that are piling on the National debt and crashing the SL rupee have gone? There is a port WITHOUT ships, and Airport without planes and six lane highway without cars, a cricket stadium used a couple of times a year and a convention centre for Namal Rajapassa to have a couple of “youth frolics”… Rajapassa just took another massive loan from China to maintain these white elephants – throwing good money after bad!

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        The white elephant port and airport according to Rajapassa spin is for “future generations” – yes indeed to pay of massive loans and the energy bills of these useless “development” projects that are environmental and human disasters,
        Many many water holes and bird nesting grounds have been filled up and destroyed, while the human – elephant conflict increases.

        Long live development DEBT – for future generations – Rajapassa’s gift to our children!

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        Correction – Rajapassa brotherhood of CORRUPT fools – who get massive kickbacks for each Chinese loan they take for each white elephant DEVELOPMENT project!

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        Dinuk – You’re wasting your time. This guy doesn’t give a shit about the environment (or anything else of detriment to the country) – its all about pandering to the ‘powers’ and getting his own agenda going, as his writings clearly demonstrate.

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        Spot on Dinuk,
        Security forces personnel who recently took us on a tour of the Hambug port of Rajapassa were laughing at the spin put out by the regime and said that the port was a massive loss making enterprise with very few ships coming there..

        Then we went to the airpor but here were no planes there only young school children in buses being taken on tours to admire the empty airport!
        Massive waste in the name of development – for the next generation ?! My ASS – for Rajapassa’s kickbacks from China..

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        From 1977 on, every single government implemented projects that were massive environment disasters. Just the fallout of the accelerated mahaweli project is sufficient to show you that your argument, directed at the present regime is indeed a scraping of the bottom of the barrel of the astigmatic vidictiveness of a person with an axe to grind and nothing more. Indeed, the environment movements of the country were formed in the late eighty’s as a result of an insanity on the part of the JR led UNP and any subsequent damage pales into insignificance in comparison. *smiles*

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    I think Bakanisation is more appropriate to Sri Lanka than ‘Bhutanization’.

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      correction of a typo: Balkanisation instead of Bakanisation.

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        It should be correctly called Bukanization.

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    Let’s Bhutanize Malinda’s Butt. ;)

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      Presidence Bean:
      I have a better suggestion lets continue the Bergen-Belsenization of Sri Lanka that his mentors have begun and put him in a brand new cell adjacent to an appropriate “chamber” so he can, at least, contemplate the fate that he has encouraged for so many in this country.

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      Better screwtiise

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    Ayiyaiyooooo! This bugger is telling to let India run the show. Never! They must have given this rat a Maruti to carry his suruti.

    But good also! Now we can have another war. Let the injuns come. Lets see how many of them go back and how.

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    Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!¨¨

    By far this is the best article I have read so far about us being poisoned by imported chemicals though for the boom of agro sector. Why cant we the nation become like the Bhutanies – I mean in terms of giving high priority to organic ?

    Quoting from yours:
    ” Sri Lanka is one of many dumping grounds for food products (like milk powder) that people in the producing countries would not touch, given contamination fears for example. Sponsorships, freebies, outright purchase of ‘friendly opinion’ and sneaking representatives into decision-making bodies are only some of the devices available for the unscrupulous”

    This I see as a biological weapon that have manufactured and distributed by so called developed nations to balance their economies.

    Entire developing nations that have free economic policies accessing any ununsierce to import even WHO-banned chemicals have been caught by this. Consequently, unforeseen, new form symptoms are found across the nation. Some of these chemicals are named as cancerous, but local authorities seem to have not taken them serious. Statistics show that unexpected elevated numbers of various cancers are newly found in SL and other like minded countries that let these hazardous chemicals into their terriroties. Not a secret that Rajarata kidney disease is one of them, and Weliweriya people have also complained of new kind of skin rashes found varied aged groups.

    Water/Soil/Air pollution —> Sea/Lake food ——–> Human consumption.
    Entire food chain is damaged.

    Quoted from a Journal
    ———————
    Restrictions on usage
    In the 1970s and 1980s, agricultural use was banned in most developed countries, beginning with Hungary in 1968 then in Norway and Sweden in 1970, Germany and the United States in 1972, but not in the United Kingdom until 1984. Vector control use has not been banned, but it has been largely replaced by less persistent alternative insecticides.
    The Stockholm Convention, which took effect in 2004, outlawed several persistent organic pollutants, and restricted DDT use to vector control. The Convention has been ratified by more than 170 countries and is endorsed by most environmental groups. Recognizing that total elimination in many malaria-prone countries is currently unfeasible because there are few affordable or effective alternatives, public health use is exempt from the ban pending acceptable alternatives. Malaria Foundation International states, “The outcome of the treaty is arguably better than the status quo going into the negotiations.For the first time, there is now an insecticide which is restricted to vector control only, meaning that the selection of resistant mosquitoes will be slower than before.”

    Despite the worldwide ban, agricultural use continues in India, North Korea, and possibly elsewhere.
    Today, about 3-4,000 tonnes each year are produced for vector control. DDT is applied to the inside walls of homes to kill or repel mosquitoes. This intervention, called indoor residual spraying (IRS), greatly reduces environmental damage. It also reduces the incidence of DDT resistance.For comparison, treating 40 hectares (99 acres) of cotton during a typical U.S. growing season requires the same amount of chemical as roughly 1,700 homes.

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    What happened to the idea of making Sri Lanka next Singapore.
    Last update was it was going to crash land in Myanmar on the way to Singapore. So Milinda plans land it in Bhutan. :)

    What is the per capita income Bhutan?
    What is per capita of Singapore and Sri Lanka?

    Sinagapore people drink clean water though they don’t have any water resources. They solely rely on imported water from Malaysia and recycled water. Their recylcled water so good that it can be consumed.

    Sri Lanka with so much water resources cannot even provide her people with clean water. How many farmers had died so far due to kidney failure due to contaminated water. The leaders have failed on their people. It is incompetence. Bhutan is a slogan of finding escapism for the failed leaders.

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      Watch Rupsvajini daily, then you will realize and feel that Siri Lanka is even better than Singapore.
      Anura

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    Bhutanize? What? This country has already been Brutalized by your boss the king of kings! .

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      So lets remove the Brutus once and for all.
      Its not that hard to eliminate this modern day Brutus, is it?
      All you need is a little bit of thinking which will pay handsomely.
      Enough the torture of this Despot.
      Lets send this Blood Hound where he belongs.

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        What happened to Leelage ammata and Leelage thaththa ? So far we have met only the nangi and the bappa :)

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    Was it Bhutan that the Royal family was massacred in or was that Nepal ? Anyway that is an option !

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      Jingo Singo Wangchucka is the the dragon king of Bhutan who ceded his DragonVille controls to the snoopy Indian RAW for many indian rebel hideouts were hiding on his territory.

      Nepal was another country the Indian RAW strawed its regicide uprooting the Royal family and usurping the Tarai haegomony.

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      Don Quixote:
      The Nepal precedent might be more appropriate to follow. However, being nice people, we should consider Bhutan. After all, we don’t want to look like the ones who are killing and maiming with abandon, do we?

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    We BRUTALIZE— Don’t call that Bhutanize—

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