Opposition Protests Are Out Of Order! The Call By The Government To Conserve Fuel Consumption Makes Sense!
Posted on February 17th, 2012

Insight By Sunil Kumar

February 17th 2012
Almost on cue the opposition coalition of the UNP and JVP have resorted to what appears to be a civil disobedience campaign in the capital not by a Nation in protest but by the bourgeoisie and affluent elements within the opposition parties personally affected by the direction of the Government action to conserve fuel consumption based on very valid reasoning and not as portrayed by the sources organizing the protest as one intended to inconvenience the average consumer through bad Government policy which if it does appear to be so, a mere fact of life which needs to be endured given the economic crises the world is faced with today. One of burdgeoning crude oil prices and heavy taxes levied on their imports.

 Lets face it, Sri Lanka is not an oil rich Brunei or some middle eastern conglomerate to be lavishly and recklessly imdulging in fuel consumption and doing the grand, it is to the contrary a poor third world country emerging from the ravages of a horrendous, near nation destructive terrorist insurgency where its astute leadership is in the process of Nation building in the aftermath.Austerity seems to be the key to what the Government is implementing and there seems no foreseeable reason to protest against it unless those doing so percieve a window of opportunity towards their own gain which by itself is a mirage and distorted!

 Therefore when the Sri Lanka Government condemns opposition action and the protests organized by the UNP and some factions of JVP and certain Muslim affiliates in collaboration which is not a full complement of the majority of Sri Lankan citizens but those loyal to the protest organisers for very apparent reasons it has every right to do so. It is definitely not kosher and quite unpalatable towards the best interests of the nation.The Government veritably asks the public to reduce fuel consumption on the basis that it is losing Rs. 63.7 billion (over US$ 500 million) this year due to the fuel imports and subsidies and has deplored the actions taken by the main opposition United National Party to mislead the public for political advantage which is exactly what the fuss and bother is all about which needs to be condemned and punitive action taken against those responsible. It not only violates many constitutional rights of the Government in power and majority to implement legislation towards the best interests of the nation but also exposes the opportunistic ambits of certain problem creating leaders of the opposition who in doing so are also fomenting anger and inciting masses of people through their misguided presentations of the incumbent Government in a blatant attempt to mislead the general public. If some of the leaders have been injured, indisposed and hospitalised as reported it is by their own seeking where they should have known better than to organise the irresponsible demonstrations in the capital Colombo forcing the hand of the law and any threats by certain leaders towards continuing to agitate the situation created by them responded to fully, within the precepts of the Law! .

The government has asked the public to curtail the fuel consumption and conserve energy at a time the global oil prices have surpassed US$ 122 a barrel and expected to rise even further.

Explaining the recent fuel price hike that has led to protests across the country, the government has said, that the country needs about 55,000 metric tons of petrol and about 169,000 metric tons of diesel monthly. The monthly fuel consumption for power generation is about of 18,000 metric tons.

Despite the recent fuel price hike, the government also says it has continued to provide the diesel and kerosene subsidy to the public which is not only magnanimous on the part of the GOSL but something which the Opposition parties fail to comprehend as benefitting to the nation in the long haul.

The most accurate statistics which speak volumes for the related Government policy indicates as Secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum Industries Development Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunge has pointed out that due to the fuel subsidy the petroleum authority, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), has incurred a loss of nearly Rs. 90 billion (approximately US$ 761 million) in 2011.

He has said that about Rs. 40 billion is needed to generate electricity under the price revision and the Ceylon Electricity Board will also be incurring a loss of Rs. 70 billion this year.

The Secretary has pointed out that 20 percent of the countryƒÆ’‚¯¿½s population owns vehicles that run on oil. The vehicle imports to the country surged 100 percent last year registering 525,421 new vehicles in 2011.

Given the staggering cost incurred in importing fuel, the public needs to attempt to use fuel sparingly, and the opposition should not exploit the situation for their gains which the Government has emphasized with every right to do so given the above facts and circumstances.

The opposition protests are out of order! The call by the government to conserve fuel consumption makes sense and any impediment towards this needs to be treated as a violation of the protocols which govern the rights of an administration to implement policies conducive towards the well being of a nation.

6 Responses to “Opposition Protests Are Out Of Order! The Call By The Government To Conserve Fuel Consumption Makes Sense!”

  1. desh Says:

    No pal, it was in order, even though I don’t like the JVP, it was in order. I don’t know where you live, but this foolish price hike is already hitting the masses, so the masses don’t need the JVP or the UNP to start protest actions.

    Don’t forget the governments of mighty countries than Sri Lanka had fallen in such protests. People won’t allow this kind of foolish governing to go on like this. The only hope is that JVP won’t make political inroads, as we don’t need another LTTE like organisations in Lanka. Mr’s government don’t know how to run a country in peacetime. All the bad ministers of Chandrika’s era are still in this government, so Lanka has no real leader today to follow.

    American citizens, or PR holders are in the government, and that too is dangerous for the country, as they’d run when the tidings are not good to USA.
    The USA has to take back their citizens and PR holders, disregarding whatever problems these guys would have done in another country.

    There was no reason for this price hike, as Iran had already threaatened Europe to cut its fuel supply, and promised to send fuel to Lanka. This price hike of fuel is to cover the excess expenditure, more likely wastage by the government. Period!

  2. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    Maybe Desh has not grasped the full implication of the price hike as he is refering to the masses when the issue at hand affect big businesses and private conglomerates rather than the masses who are behind the Administration in a more sensible perspective than the conniving opposition.This is more about energy conservation and cost saving for the country pal so get your facts together! And dont start this comparison to unrest in ither countries where the issues are totally unrelated unless you want to make an issue out of it.Mightier corrupt dictators who fell to public uprisings have not liberated their countries from terrorism where Sri Lanka today is a land of peace and heading towards prosperity which of course your kind of thinking could easily hamper even figuratively.The American element in the government, obviously a reference to the American educated brothers of the President aren’t the type who would run as they are upright individuals who have benefited from their foreign education and have applied it towards the nation’s progress if at all rather than hamper it. Perhaps your rationale might help the the goings on in countries like Syria where people uprisings are being quashed by a ruthless regime or will you be drawing analogies with Syria next and suggesting that Sri Lanka is headed in the same direction ? Stand behind this government it will hold you and your generations in good stead unless of course you are an UNP/JVP sympathiser in disguise!

  3. cassandra Says:

    desh, I agree with your sentiments.

    Why are protests out of order as the writer of the article says ? Are not protests legitimate and democratic means of voicing disapproval of a government’s actions when there appear to be no other courses of action available to obtain redress?

    The government’s appeal to conserve energy is reasonable. You cannot criticise that but one might also say it carries little conviction considering that the government itself has shown no leadership in this matter or in the way it regulates its expenditure. It makes little sense to ask the public to observe restraint and tighten its belt while the government indulges in such wasteful things like night motor races in Colombo (for whose benefit are these if not for “the bourgeoisie and affluent elements”? – they are not for the good of the common man) like building cricket stadiums in the outstations that will be little used, like bidding to host the Commonwealth Games which the country can ill afford.

    Calling for restraint in the use of energy is a totally different matter to the recent huge increase in the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene. And let us bear in mind these are not solitary price increases in recent times. They come as the latest in a series of regular price increases. Surely, you cannot expect to keep on burdening hardships on the public in this fashion and not expect the public at some stage to even turn to violent protest.

    Sunil Kumar, you may not like people protesting against this government. But protests are both legitimate and very much a part of democratic rights. And if you look back, the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact and the Dudley-Chelvanayagam Pact, for instance, will not have been abandoned if not for some strong and robust public protests.

  4. Muhammad FS Says:

    These rowdy protesters have done nothing good. They disrupt business and normal lives of people.

  5. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    Strong and robust public protests translating to communal riots? Aspersions against those who co-ordinated them truly insufficient!
    In Sri Lanka the freedom of expression gets carried to new heights which promotes anarchist dogma and civil disobedience thanks to the likes of the JVP who believe in mob rule and terrorist idealogy often emulated by the UNP and more than likely the TNA. Read Mr Muhammad’s comments closely, he has a message for both Desh abd Cass. The going is by no means easy in the economic climate of Sri Lanka today where almost everything is geared to the turn of the Western Wheel with the fragmented world economy dictating to countries like Sri Lanka often compromised for oil, fuel energy and consumer supplies. Just keep praying that the the oil exploration programme will strike it rich and the country will be another Brunei! Open your eyes wide and look around the country and ask the man on the street not the blackguards in opposition in Parliament~led bt Ranil Wickremasinghe or the indicted folk hero behind bars what the state of the country is in today ? Ostriches also bury their heads in the sand when storms hits don’t they but the storms also pass do they not? “Sri Lanka will endure all stoms” should be your slogan and inspiration rather than being defeatist and negative and boo hooing from the comforts of your western domains ! Come to Lanka and take a first hand look and see for yourself who the real troublemakers are and the beauty of a restored Sri Lanka today rather than pumping them up with your jargon!!!

  6. desh Says:

    There should not hav ebeen a price hike at all. This government, sorry to say, don’t know how to run a country in peacetime. It is trying the same tactics as in wartime and under strict security laws.

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