N.U. Abdul Razzak Udayar
“Cost of living is costing the life of the living”
― Vincent Okay Nwachukwu
COLOMBO : “When the going gets tough, tough gets going”. This axiom has clearly shown its reflection on Sri Lanka as the recent price reduction of the gas by around one thousand Rupees has given a quick relief to people of all walks of life of this beloved isle, particularly to the poor and the man in the street. The latest news that the price of the imported milk powder would be slashed by two hundred Rupees per kilo with effect from 15th May 2023 is also a clear indication that road for relief for Sri Lanka is under immediate construction.
Fortunately, Sri Lanka that has been seriously struggling for her survival since the inversion of the invisible enemy, the COVID-19 in the early 2020 is conspicuously limping back to near normalcy as the two very basic needs of the nation, the 24 hour incessant supply of power (electricity) and the normal distribution of fuel for transportation and other essential activities have been restored since of late. Nevertheless, there is a big struggle for a decent life in this island as the masses keep on fighting against the Cost of Living (COL). Aptly, the President Mr. Ranil Wickramasinge works hard round the clock to find a way to lift the nation out of this economic trouble and is firmly determined to place the normalcy back on track by getting the support of IMF and other powerful financial organizations of the world. Truly, he may need a somewhat long period of time to achieve the target of giving a decent life to the nation. But, practically and pathetically, the masses find it utterly difficult to meet the both ends. Therefore, it is high time that a serious consideration and thought was urgently given by the Government to drastically reduce the essential food items, medicines, milk powder, groceries, and stationeries. The light bill too should be decreased by at least 20 percent as a large number of people have a tough time in settling the monthly light bills.
Milk Powder becoming a Luxury
The balanced food milk that is essential for a healthy growth and living has become a luxury in this beloved nation that had a fame for the diary farms a few decades ago. Today, the price of it has reached beyond the purchase of a man in the street. Consumers in their thousands are looking high and law for milk of human kindness in the form of a big reduction of the price. Milk Powder! Milk Powder! There are brands such as Ariya, Diamond, Lakcow, Lanka Sathosa, Luxpray, Maliban, Pelwatte, Puredale, Ratthi that offer full cream milk powder for our daily consumption. But the price is so expensive under the present Cost of Living. A 400 gram packet of milk powder of any brand of aforementioned is sold in the range of Rupees 1100 to 1160. Unfortunately, some remote villages don’t get some of them or any of them due to various reasons such as high demand, poor distribution, and lack of affordability by the shopkeepers etc. Today, undoubtedly and unluckily, milk powder has become a luxury as the consumers need over one thousand and one hundred Rupees to buy a 400 grams packet that disappears in three days or so for an average family that has five or six members. Gloomily, a substantial number of citizens have cut down the consumption of milk tea that is popularly known as TEA among the households of Sri Lanka. Therefore, the Government is humbly requested to make a 400 grams packet of milk powder that could be available in the range of Rs=700 Rupees to Rs=800 so that all Lankans can enjoy their cuppa at least twice a day.
As far as the milk powder is concerned, there is another issue. It is the sale of loose milk powder that is carried out by many groceries. For example, in certain local areas of Kandy, loose milk powder is sold under the unit of 100 grams, two hundred grams etc. This loose milk is given in small shopping bags. Are the safety rules followed? Consumers are charged three hundred Rupees for 100 grams at these groceries. Frankly, a large number of labourers, workers, the poor and those who live from hand to mouth readily buy a packet of hundred or two hundred grams milk powder to have a cup of tea or two daily as their income is meagre. So, it is high time that safety of the milk powder should be guaranteed. Can it be sold in small shoppers? Today milk powder, milks a bigger portion of the consumers dry in terms of their hard earned money. Hence, the Government should take steps to see that a packet of milk powder is no longer a thing of luxury.
One more area where the masses look for real relief is clearly, transportation. The price of petrol and diesel need to be decreased by a reasonable percentage to ensure that all the citizens of this country can lead a happy life keeping the wolf from the door. I am sure President Ranil Wikramsinghe would go out of his way to give a big relief to the masses of this nation who have been anxiously waiting to get this much needed relief. All 226 members of the parliament should forget their petty differences and give a healthy helping hand to let the President Ranil Wickramasinghe cleverly initiate the Grand Relief to the entire nation in no time.