Posted on March 10th, 2016

Dr Sarath Obeyseketa

ETCA is generating fear psychosis among Sri Lankans, elite unions like GMOA  ,FUTA etc. (Only FARMERS UNION is not complaining of Indians coming to Sri Lanka to take over their 2G” sting uniformed trade )

.We will not be surprised that someone will raise the fear that farming trade may also be taken over as the barbers job by Indians

Good old days we go to barber in the small town and villages ,and he is not a fashionable jeans clad ,bisexual male or a female ( we cannot remember any female barber –now they call them hair dressers or fashion experts ).The name of the barber shop is now called with a suffix kes” and or with some exotic name like salon where the  salon was written and pronounced as saloon” those days .

Like take away Kottu” shops and liquor shops  ,”salons” have sprung up every where and men go there to not only cut their hair but also for nail chipping and face lift !

Back to my story about the subject of the heading .we are also feared about Indians coming to Sri Lanka to take over ship building jobs as we started few ship building yards,

Workers and Engineers union in Colombo Dockyard recently held a demonstration inside the port         ( press  does not know as it was held inside  the port) claiming that ETCA should not be implemented as their jobs may be taken over by Indians .

But the irony is that today chappati and Dhal” eating malnourished Indian welders are working and building their ships in dockyard and number exceeds 300

I wonder how these engineers and workers go on strike against those  Human beings” and ask the government to chase away the Indians or not to allow them

We have started building some ships in our yards .As we do not have shipbuilding grade ship building steel ,it is imported from many countries and the quality Is ensured by obtaining Material Certificate to prove that they are manufactured to ship building code and also British ,American.Japanese or Indian standards

When the steel arrives in Sri Lanka ,Sri Lanka customs has imposed a rule that many types of steel like angles and beams should be checked to ensure that thEy are manufactured to Sri Lanka Standard ( SLS)

No where in the world these steel profiles are built to SLStandard

What customs do  ( as empowered by a special Gazette) is they impose a condition that Sri Lanka Standard Institute ( SLSI) visits the harbour and cut pieces of the steel and take them to a laboratory and check whether they are manufactured to SLS!

Even though we submit original steel certificate they do not believe it

Process of, visiting the harbour ,cutting samples .taking them to a lab and approving or disapproving takes a week or more

When they were contracted to expedite the process or evEn waive off on the basis that they were imported for ship building but not for trading in Galwala” to make gates for home etc .bureaucratic SLSI refuses to budge

Claiming that they are audited by Audit Bureau and fear of being dragged to FCID perhaps” ! they tell us the keep the consignment unused until they approve.

MY final resort was to write to Ease of doing Business who promised to take the matter up at next forum on 30th March

Am I wait three weeks and stop building the ships ??

When I made a call  to Director General of SLSI ,the call was connected by his secretary to him after mentioning  my name he took my call

First greeting answer to me  (as a investor in this country  ) was ”what is your problem” ?? in a very irritated voice #

I explained  my problem and he wants me to send another letter as he does not have it with him thru someone after refusing to hear my claim that it may not be needed to retest as no steel mill in the world makes steel to SLS !

He also said that we have to follow procedure until Finance Minister changes the rules

I am stuck with my steel to build ships and may be until 30th March ,thus delaying delivery for 20 days?

My contention is as I have written before, that  State Institutions and customs  should identify Rogue Traders from genuine investors and apply rules with much more care and every rule can have an exception ?

One  last thing  which amazed me was when the lady Inspector from SLSI came to visit  the harbour where the steel containers  located ,told my clearing agent that  time of the day was 3.30 pm and she had to rush back to office to catch the office transport bus ,otherwise she will miss it and without checking the consignment bolted leaving us dumb founded

For god sake we need to put our house in order before we invite some more Indians or any other nation  to invest or work in our country




  1. Christie Says:

    Sarath, you should contact some one in Galwala. They have been running the show since steel was first imported to the island.

  2. Asanga Says:

    How about this, Dr. Obeysekara: Let’s put our house in order so that people such as yourself can use your skills and knowledge to bring enough revenue to our country so that we NEVER have a need to invite any more Indians to work or invest in our country?

  3. aloy Says:

    Dr. Sarath,
    Checking the quality of steel by cutting pieces of the batch of steel is done as a routine in most countries. It is the job of the consultant in charge of supervision and is done after the steel arrive at site with mills certificate etc. In our country this perhaps is being done in the port itself to prevent substandard steel entering the country and going to ‘Galwala’. GOSL may be doing it with good intention as traders in that place may hoodwink the unsuspecting users. So you need to live with it and let the SLS test and see whether the steel conform to their standard which obviously will be similar to international standards. So your work schedules need to take into account of the normal time it should take for the clearance. By constantly bombarding the authorities you may be able to reduce the delays in the port.

    However this has nothing to do with ETCA. How on earth the GOSL can provide a million jobs to SL’s youth by allowing Indians come freely. If they need any specialist let them come in the normal way as is happening now. In the field of engineering which I am familiar we certainly have an edge over their’s as our training is similar to that of UK’s. If they need people like welders, electricians etc. let them start vocational schools and train them through a crash programme.
    Indians have no regard for standards. No wonder prince Charles once said ‘it is like the job of an Indian electrician’. Once I had rented out my house to an Indian company handling electrical work and they had connected ACs to 5 Amp socket outlets which our electricians would never do. I am lucky my house was not burnt down.

  4. mario_perera Says:

    ETCA is generating fear psychosis among Sri Lankans, elite unions like GMOA ,FUTA etc. (Only FARMERS UNION is not complaining of Indians coming to Sri Lanka to take over their 2G” sting uniformed trade ) – Dr.S.G.

    The nation is practically being shaken to its very roots by the ETCA…we may ask ourselves WHY?

    The answer is obvious. Because nothing done in this country can claim the word ‘quality’ or ‘standard’ in its description or definition. Take anything ad everything as an example: postal service, transport, education, medical care, electricity, road Development…anything, anything and everything is terribly .sub-standard and sub-quality.

    Now when ETCA is proposed, our inabilities and in-capabilities are thrown at our faces in broad daylight. Our immediate reaction is that of the dog on the haystack. He does not eat hay nor does he let cattle approach it either.

    The perfect image of our nation is that of our cricket team… no batsmen, no bowlers, no fielders, no all-rounders…no nothing and no-anyting, but parading on the local and international arena to the tune of the national anthem and with the ‘neva gilunath Ban Choon’ in constant attendance.

    Not only can they not do it, but they do not want even to be told that they cannot do it.

    That is what the ETCA is really about..a putting on display or our sheer inability.

    Mario Perera

  5. Dham Says:

    Cricket team beat India once, soon after they beat Australia 3-0. That team is no more.
    But in comparison , our governments have never beaten India since LTTE beaten them long time ago.

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