By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
God or Nature?
I guess, Ravi Karunanayake, the Sri Lankan Minister in charge of the subject of energy is amused by his own antic of praying before the Sri Maha Bodhi asking for rain. Surely, he is an educationally accomplished character! Rain pours down given natural conditions and ceases to do so in the absence of those conditions. It is the Paticca Samuppada working and, hence, no serious Buddhist will pray like this.
Why, then, does Ravi pray? So fervently like an infertile young woman asking for a foetus? He wants to display-mind you, before the camera- his Buddhist religiosity just to impress the ignorant masses that our island nation possesses in abundance. Ravi Karunanayake has to be pulled up for spreading myth and encouraging the people to feed on myth. Myth boomerangs on political leaders.
We haven’t seen any yahapalanaya politicians breaking coconuts before the Seenigama Devale; I thought these set of fellows-although also a luxury- car -greedy lot like their predecessors- are more modernised in their outlook. Ranil Wickremesinghe leads a modernising force. We will pardon the leader’s regular visits to the Tripathi Deyyo as a simple and harmless idiosyncrasy.
Some Areas that Ravi Should Work On
Has Ravi Karunanayake done anything positive towards the resolution of the country’s power crisis? Its seesaw ride between floods and drought? As the Minister, the nation would like an immediate report from him and I hope he does deliver that in the next few days or so.
There is a great deal of over-consumption of oil and gas on the snake-long vehicle lines Colombo has been experiencing over the last two decades-each year getting worser and worser. This is daily colossal wastage of petrol. Has Ravi given attention to this? I know much of such causes are beyond his control; but has he not alerted the government? Had Mahinda Rajapaksa spent his Chinese loans to relieve the traffic problem instead of misallocating to an international airport, an international stadium in Hambantota, or even on a port in Hambantota we would have blessed him thrice. To do him justice he, at least, built some useful highways. However, given his canny ability to get around the Chinaman, the former President could have done more.
The luxury car permit game should also be put an end, too, even if that means parliament will also end. With the kind of MPs we now have, the sooner parliament ceases to be the better it would be.
The wastage of power is seen in other areas: Poor distribution infrastructure has been a critical factor in Sri Lanka. Distribution in the areas outside Colombo is in the hands of Regional Councils and local bodies. Most of the latter are broke and cannot allocate money to replace outworn cable networks and other elements of the distribution. The revenue from electricity bills local bodies use as a convenient cash flow. I knew that first hand when I worked as Special Commissioner Dehiwela Mt Lavinia Municipality.
Then, has Ravi given attention to the dire need to educate users about simple things like switching off fans and lights when not in use, using maximum daylight, walking instead of driving for short distances, using CFL instead of traditional bulbs, proper insulation for leakage of energy and so on? Most government Departments don’t bother to switch off or turn of water when offices close for the day. These items appear small but taken together can mean a big ocean of wastage control. Building plan approvals must cover proper insulation methods.
Renewable Energy Sources
The most important of all measures, is to focus on renewable energy sources: steam, solar and wind power systems. What has our Ravi done in these areas? Has he drawn up a plan for this complex subject or is he merely continuing the same Ministerial behaviour as that of his predecessors?
We like to know. Forget the Mahabodhi prayer and let us know, Mr. Minister.