Saturday 4 July 2020

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

03 July  2020

Tamil Accountability

Today is the birth anniversary of my aunt Mrs Padma Sanmugarajah. I paid my respects to aunty through the picture of Mother Meenatchi of Madurai in whom we have common faith. When aunty passed away, her children arranged for me to get that picture. To me, that is the highest form of inheritance.
Uncle  Sanmugarajah was General Manager, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). Uncle had a brilliant mind. Yet he had his share of  challenges to get there.  To me, the real value is in the hardship that we successfully overcome to get to those positions. Each time I experience difficulties with  Ceylon Electricity Board, I hurt as if uncle’s investment is being damaged. This did not happen to me in Colombo, nor to my parents when I grew up in Jaffna. It happens regularly now in Vaddukoddai, confirming weak Administration. This happens when one gets isolated from the architects of  the structures.
As per Economy Next news report headed ‘Government asks electricity consumers to pay their bills, relief measures will follow’:
[The government is asking electricity consumers to pay their bills in full for now until a proper method for relief is found, a senior Minister said.
Co-Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena asked the electricity consumers to pay up now until a proper relief method for the payments is introduced by the Cabinet next week.]

When our bills were issued on 14 June 2020, I knew that it was way above the real cost. But I had also the experience of  the system itself – which cost me:

On 05 December 2017, I wrote in this regard, to the OIC - Jaffna:

[…….The latest Accounts are for the 3 month period 16-08-17 to 16-11-17
The charges for both accounts seem to have been calculated on the basis that they were for one month. This issue arose in February 2016 and we ended up paying Rs 5,755 more than we ought to have.   But because we needed the Electricity supply for lighting  reasons we paid up even though we disagreed with the bill. Since you blamed the camera system  for the fault – we have stopped using the camera system also.
This time it has happened again in respect of both Accounts. Last time the temple meter was not working but you covered up and later installed a new meter for the temple and locked the meter box  of the second system – as if we were the ones at fault.
  I strongly protest against this and expect you to credit our account after deducting the rate  calculated at the average of previous three months when the meters were read regularly
I highlight also that some of your meter readers contacted me, to help them argue against their termination. They said that they got to know about my credibility after reading the letters I wrote in February 2016. I declined by saying that they did not stand up for me back then and hence were not entitled to my support now.  ]

The February 2016 communications were in Tamil and I made the extra effort to write in Tamil. Nothing happened to amend the bills. I escalated the matter to Colombo level of the CEB. Nothing happened in terms of the excessive costs. I believe, when I gave up – the weakness became natural and hence it happened again. Had they addressed it back then, today’s problem would have been prevented on the basis of Jaffna problem and solution.

The problem was accounting. Instead of averaging it out and then applying the rate for each month the marginal rate was used as if it were one month’s consumption. The parallel of that is to allocate the credit for managing the virus problem solely to the credit of the President instead of sharing with electorates that managed themselves.

If Tamil Eelam was a reality – the credit for Tamil areas would have been allocated to LTTE supremo. Karuna trying to take credit was due to this ‘habit’ of taking credit.

Article 3 of the Sri Lankan constitution states:

[In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise. ]

The real franchise is exercised in every experience where we are juniors – as I was with the CEB in Northern Sri Lanka. Now I am satisfied that it also added to government accepting ownership of the problem. But it can cost them votes. Real governance happens through every person who governs at least her/himself. The level of that contribution to governance / sovereignty is as per the measure used by that person or group. In the above instance – mine was  professional and the CEB’s was habitual other side of the consumer. My karma is kept ‘in waiting’ until a true heir needs it.
Yesterday, a Tamil Diaspora leader shared with me the following message:

God is creating the world, and he talks to the Canadians. He says to them “You will have the best land ever. It is beautiful, in the summer it is warm and in the winter it snows beautiful snow flakes. It is called Canada. You will have prosperity and food for all your days.”
He then gets the Australians, and says to them “I give to you Australia. You are isolated, and the land is a desert. You will work every day and will get very little in return. It will be harsh, but you will be hardened by it. You will find it hard, but you will call it home.”
The Australians reply “This is so unfair, why do the Canadians get good land and prosperity and we only get the harsh land, the scraps!?”
The God replies “They do. But I didn’t tell the Canadians about their neighbors.”]

Australia that is attractive to Tamils and other migrants was made by migrants – starting with British migrants. It is true that from time to time there is injustice – especially through racism. But taken with the positives in law and order – racism is like a pin-prick. Tamil leaders who are promoting Genocide purely on the basis of experience of indigenous Tamils – would lose the higher structures of law and administrative order by those who emigrated to Colombo and beyond and continued to value their indigenous areas as their ‘home’. So long as this value is stronger than the value of those currently living in those areas – we were NOT defeated by Genocide – including due to rebels who killed the heirs of global law and order.

Truth alone is stronger than the power of global law and order. Not rebel laws nor military laws.

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