eLanka | Kiri for Gama and Kolamba-Kakiri for dessert – by Oscar E V Fernando

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Oscar FernandoJack, disillusioned with restrictions on movement asked John-why so-John explained the reasons-so obvious and said-that some are stressed out and some ponder as to what hit them and how they could face this-new normal-till a new order is so ordained

what is that asked Jack-John then continued to say that with wide and ramified consequences-he will confine to the rural and urban youth communities-that are being destabilized and stressed-while comparing it to a period when all peoples including youth thrived and beamed with satisfaction with an agricultural system that tilled the land well enough-to have earned -our country the epithet-granary of the east

what happened thereon asked Jack

we cannot deny that foreigners who at a certain stage colonized the country-destabilized society-leaving a trail of-good bad and the ugly with which we must come to terms appreciating the good and embracing the rest in a state of compulsion-charity-forgiveness and peace-knowing fully well there is no alternative to develop and progress from the throes we are facing

how and what we could do to swim and/or sink-asked Jack-recovery is many sided-said John-but let us view this from the angle of youth-wherein lies the future and promise for any country

let us look at the hopeful situation where our 2021 budget has a wide allocation in the range of 650B for rural development-and with such hope let us trail back and then forth-up to the present plight

in this pandemic situation faced by the whole world-people seem to gravitate into new beginnings and let us see the drift taking place in our own country

we are beginning to realize we must be self-reliant-seemingly with no alternative to hang onto-what with FDI’s-foreign direct investments on the decline or hard to come by

at the point of colonization-the land was tilled for crops such as paddy-in the lead-and with coffee tea coconut and other veggies

land management then changed hands with the foreigners introducing the mercantile system-to manage crops such as tea rubber and coconut in the hands of large mercantile firms-who perhaps were unwilling to dabble with ritualistic and deep rooted paddy cultivation-thus leaving it  in the hands of local cultivators with old systems of ploughing-sowing-marketing and storing-that came down from the rajajariya system of old-ending with a sad trail of suicides due to many a frustrated endeavor-unable to meet the new trends consequent to new technologies

to make a long story short the progeny of these cultivators-a part of the present unemployed youth-and who drifted from rural to urban in a hopeful search for  much greener pasture-are now seen disgruntled when the pandemic restricted their lifestyle-facing travel bans on inter-district movement and disabling visits to loved ones-and with some facing the prospect of losing income-seen drifting to the rural in search of pasture which now they think will be greener than in the urban-thus leaving behind the chummery type of frustrated living

this is the opportune moment-said John-to encourage and retain these youth and also attract the urban youth to drift to the rural-luring them with modernized agricultural tilling of land

this perhaps is down the pipe line with the massive allocation in the 2021 budget for rural development-this will certainly make the youth feel-that the grass is now greener on that side of the fence

implementing new schemes by way of rural development John told Jack-was our favorite topic of discussion way back in 2020 and even earlier-when in May of that year we adverted to this on the media-stating that the following schemes would reduce vagaries faced by rural cultivators and would give hope to all potential cultivators

with this allocation in the budget many schemes could be implemented rapidly-taking the Mahaweli-Project as an example-what with the Tri-Forces to the fore

construct cold storage plants to face vagaries of weather-cut off the middle man to maintain a fair price to the producer-introduce information technology-IT and WIFI shops for swift communication and banking-attract youth to the rural by constructing venues for-musicals-dance floors both oriental and western-gymnasiums-swimming pools-open universities both local and foreign-introduce rapid teaching of English for operation of IT and communication with the outside world to attract foreign direct investments-whist not neglecting oriental languages and cultures-introduce modern irrigation methods such as drip irrigation and tube wells-open foreign and local universities and hold seminars in the villages

these suggestions are only a drop in the mighty ocean-compared to a wider ocean of possibilities once the rural is opened out to other technological advancements

a vital problem to overcome said John is the age-old problem of land tenure in villages which perhaps has been faced from colonial times onwards-and these are-nindagam-temple-Dewalagam lands and those cultivated on ande basis

being socio/economic problems connected to politics-politicians have perhaps turned a blind eye to this vulnerable problem-a problem-if tackled boldly and with a little bit of totalitarianism-will turn our economy-upside down for certain

in view of the radical nature of revamping-it is hoped that it be carried out by PPP’s-private public partnerships by SME’s

Oscar E V Fernando
February 2021



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