Historically in Sri Lanka, leadership has been a practice to be performed by few in places of higher status and positional authority. Whereas in reality, when seeking solutions to problems, people with great ideas are everywhere. Don’t think you need to look up the ivory tower or bring in external consultants for solutions to questions that can be answered from within the available local talents. You’ll be surprised to find that the best resources are likely already residing in a nearby or just a WhatsApp conference call away.
Ever since the shutdown caused by the COVID19 Virus pandemic there are many tales coming from remote areas that people are unable get provisions due to imposed curfew. Many volunteers have been trying to bridge the gap. With the government trying to make good progress in spite of all limitations. But this top down attempt to resolve issues could be accelerated if bottom up support is given to the rulers by the ruled.
Perhaps there is much political involvement preventing it. For example Jaffna peninsula is well represented in parliament that is now dissolved, but there is a cabinet minister. Sadly the minster is from the opposite camp to that of former parliamentarians makes it difficult for them to approach him, to be more precise they consider it as a crime to deal with him, how stupid are our politicians, it reflects on their quality.
Sadly these people representatives are not concerned about the people, but only their votes. The same situation prevails in the country and this has been the most negative aspect of politics that has ruined the country.
In this scenario, let us look at the cooperate system in Jaffna. Though it served the people well in the past this once famous system is underutilised today. Whereas every Divisional Secretariat is served by a Multipurpose Cooperate Society (MPCS) with a network of many cooperative stores located at village level.
Yet most of these societies have funds in deposit in People’s Bank, linked to MPCS. If every cooperate society approach their branch of People’s Bank for funds, it will be made available for them to purchase provisions from Colombo. These provisions could be transported from Colombo to the nearest Railway station by rail weekly to the MPCS for collection.
The good could be distributed to their network of MPCS outlets in the village. Each Society can get through their government structure approach the Divisional Secretariat and through it the District Secretariat to formalize this program.
The former parliamentarians and the minister can bury their ‘political’ hatchet and support this plan to request approval from President himself. Once goods arrive at the MPCS outlets villagers can get their provisions by paying control prices.
Now it is up to every villager to participate in this programme and the Grama Sevakar (GS) as the front line government representative shall ensure those below poverty line get basic provisions free of charge by arranging its costs to be reimbursed the cooperate society.
The inactive Multipurpose Cooperate Societies shall be dragged out at this critical time to play a key role in this venture and the village GS could call on the volunteers to take provisions to those handicapped and old aged people unable to get to the store. Peoples representatives shall oblige by meeting the cost of transport for this extended service to the needy. A civilized approach to a humane problem, hope gets the support of all concerned!