Major Face Lift for Kandy Under a Fresh KMC Initiative
Kandy Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte and the Municipal Council have initiated development projects on several fronts to satisfy some of the most pressing needs of the Kandy community as well as to meet the long term development needs of the city. In an exclusive interview with The Kandy News Mr. Ratwatte described what the Council is currently doing in, among other things, physical infrastructure development, action taken to improve the city centre traffic flow and planning for long-term mega development projects.
Under one of these projects named Eka Gamakata Eka Wadak (One project for one village) the Council
Rational Electricity Pricing for a National Electricity Policy
The recent hike in electricity prices has stirred a hornet's nest in the country. Electricity is a necessity of modern life. Electricity improves the quality of life. Industry needs a cheap and reliable supply of electricity to be competitive in global markets. It is inevitable that a sudden and sharp increase in electricity tariff provokes a public outcry. Given the importance of electricity for the life of the people it is worth having a closer look at the industry and what could be done to ease the concern of the consumer while not jeopardizing the long term growth of the economy.
Sri Lanka's current electricity generating capacity is about 3,312 megawatts. About 48% of this comes from hydro, 49% from thermal and the balance 3% from wind and other renewable sources.
Sri Lanka's per capita income of $ 2,913 in 2012 makes it a “lower-middle” income country. The Rajapaksa administration's declared goal is to make the country an “upper-middle” income country (minimum per capita income $ 4,100, an increase of 41%) by 2016. An adequate supply of electricity is essential to achieve this goal. Usually the demand for electricity grows at a higher rate than the rate of growth of income.
In 2009 Sri Lanka produced 9.9 billion kWh of electricity. Based on Sri Lanka's own experience and that of
KMC Gets it Right
The lead article on page one of this issue of The Kandy News describes some new development work that Mayor Mahindra Ratwatte and the Council have launched in Kandy. Most are what the Council is expected to do. We want to draw the attention of our readers not so much to what is being done but how they are being done.
Of particular interest is the Eka Gamakata Eka Wedak (One Project for One Village) programme that the KMC has launched in the forty-five Graama Sevaka (GS) Divisions within the KMC boundaries. Each project has been allocated Rs 150,000. It is similar to the decentralized budget allocations that members of parliament get. But there are three notable differences in the KMC programme. First, the MMCs do not directly control the money as if it is some personal fund. Second, Mayor Ratwatte has ensured that through a process of open and public consultation the people in each GS Division collectively choose the project for which the money is to be spent. This is democratic and transparent, qualities that are mostly lacking in Sri Lanka's public spending. Third, instead of giving the work on tender that often leads to corruption, the KMC is utilizing its own labour, equipment and other resources to do the work. This is efficient and should yield more output for the money spent.
KMC is setting an example of how grassroots-driven development should work in a democracy. In the process it also makes a strong case for devolving power to local government.
Romanian Universities Invite Students from Sri Lanka
A delegation from the Romanian Ministry of Education will visit Sri Lanka from June 6th to 9th, 2013 to promote the study of Sri Lankan students in Romanian universities. The delegation will meet prospective students and their parents to provde information about opportunties that exist in that country for pursuing higher education.
The head of the International Relations Department of the Romanian Ministry of Education Mr. Tiberiu Apostol will lead the delegation. While in Colombo they will meet their counterparts in the Sri Lankan Minstries of Education and Higher Education.
The Embassy of Romania and The Honorary Consulate for Romania in Kandy are co-hosts of the promotional event. Propspective students and others interested may call Mrs. Andreea Dissanayaka at 077-275-2905 for more information.