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If you had lost your book in 1951 or 1950 or 1949, you may have a chance of getting a 13th series ration book; but if you had lost your book in 1948 or earlier, you shall not, nor shall ever get a 13th series or a subsequent ration book from this Government. That is a directive that has been issued by the Food Commissioner at Edinburgh Crescent, and every affidavit in which it is stated, "I lost my ration book in 1948 or prior to that ", is turned down merely on that statement.

I ask the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Food whether he is aware of this most amazing rule, a rule of crime, and a rule which would be a disgrace to any Government in the world. They tell you, in other words, that if you lost your ration book less than 3 years ago, they are prepared to consider your case; but if you had lost your ration book about 4 or more years ago and you have kept on living without the ration, they will not give you the rations simply because you have got accustomed to live live without the rations. Is that the argument? Why is a man who had lost his ration book in 1948 or prior to that date deprived of a 13th series ration book? Can any hon. Gentleman explain the position? Can the great

mathematician that the Hon. Minister of Local Government is, explain what difference there is in a 1948 loss as against a 1949 loss, mathematically or otherwise?

This is one more device to lessen the number who would become entitled to rice ration books. The Food Commissioner sent me a letter to that effect when I raised this point. Nobody knew of this fact before. I had not heard it from anybody else, and my good Friend the ex-Minister of Food is himself shocked when he hears what things are happening under the very nose of his successor in office. Well may he be shocked because he may not know that the present Minister devised this scheme not in order to give, but in order not to give. It was a case of to give or not to give, and the Department decided that not to give was the better plan.

May I give a little advice to this Government? From the time that the ration books were introduced into this country the preparation of householders' lists, the distribution of ration books, and the enumeration, had been left in the hands of the village headmen. The village headmen form the kingpin of this system of distribution. of distribution. Does the Government realize how far they have been played out by their own village headmen? Do you know, Mr. Speaker, that there are householders' lists by the hundred in this country which are nothing but bogus lists that have been fabricated and prefabricated by these roguish roguish village headmen?

If you want to see where the racket lies, if you want to find out whether an enumeration is exactly correct, why do you not even after 10 years of experience get the enumeration done, not by the nominees of the village headmen, but by independent parties? Why do you not get the householders' lists revised, not by the village headmen who have done it for the last 10 or 12 years, but by independent parties? Do you see how this racket has gone on? It has gone on and on, till today it is the village headman who controls the lists. It is the village headman who has inflated the figures on which this Government feels it is unable to meet the food bill. I know this from personal knowledge. It is not for me to incriminate village headmen by name. It has been a long existing racket, and the one thing the Government can do, the next time the lists are prepared, is to do the work through some other channel. Then you will see whether the old lists were true or false. [AN HON. MEMBER Do it through the M.Ps.] My good Friends on the other side have all kinds of mad ideas. They think that because they long for power, we on this side also long for power. What we long for is that there should be contentment,

happiness and prosperity in this

country.

My good Friend, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary, has already been told by me of a unique instance in

[Mr. Dahanayake] which the authorities have permitted a village headman to perpetrate an irregularity of the highest magnitude. This village headman was appointed to office in June 1952. He was at the time of appointment an authorised distributor of rice, flour, and other subsidized foods in his own division. Before his act of appointment was given he was told, "You must give up your authorised dealer's licence as soon as you receive the act of appointment." That was what he was told, but he continued to be village headman. cum authorised dealer cum blackmarketeer cum village rascal and ruffian, till he was discovered in this unique role of village headman, authorised, distributor and so on, in his own village, by the M. P. of the area, about four weeks ago. [AN HON. MEMBER: Who is that?] This happened in my own electorate. Then the Government Agent and the Assistant Food Controller looked up, the D. R. O. and the Food Minister looked blue. It took them eight months to regularise the procedure and ask the village headman not to operate as authorised dealer of subsidized foodstuffs.

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It being 5.30 p.m., the Debate stood adjourned.

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ADJOURNMENT

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn."-[Hon. Sir J. Kotelawala.]

Dr. Perera: There is a rumourthe Hon. Minister of Home Affairs might be able to enlighten us--that the price of arrack is going to be reduced. I should like the Hon. Minister to tell us what he proposed to do. But the point I want to urge is this. If this rumour is true, would he also consider the desirability of permitting the tapping of trees which has been prohibited? As the Minister is aware, a number of representations have been made on the subject of the tapping of trees which is affecting a large number of people, particularly in the south, and I do want the Hon. Minister to make the position clear to all of us.

I would also point out in this connection that representations were made to the then Home Minister about losses suffered by people who were suddenly prevented from tapping their trees even after they had entered into contracts for that purpose. They had prepared the trees for tapping and already incurred expenditure on that account. I think the then Home Minister undertook to pay compensation to those affected. I myself made representations on behalf of certain people in the Kalutara area

The Hon. Mr. A. Ratnayake: Contractors?

Dr. Perera : Yes. The Hon. Minister agreed that they should be paid compensation because, after they had been permitted to tap the trees, suddenly the Government changed its mind and stopped it.

The Hon. Sir J. Kotelawala: By the last Government?

Dr. Perera: Yes, unless the Hon. Minister of Transport and Works and Leader of the House is repudiating the acts of the last Government. It must be after the "Premier Stakes" !

There is another point which I want to address to the Minister of Transport and Works. Representations have been made to me-I have got the letter with me here-that people at certain work-places, at the Haldummulla bridge works, at the Wathkarawa bridge works, Haputale, at Galuda in Padiyapelella, at Dambarawa in Alutnuwara, have to wait till the twentieth of the following month to get their pay, twenty days after the end of the month. I would beg of the Hon. Minister to see that these people are paid at least by the tenth of the following month. These people are undergoing serious hardship because they are unable to settle their normal monthly debts, boutique accounts and so on, on account of the delay in receiving their pay. would be a great help if the Minister could make arrangments to pay them in time.

It

5.33 P.M.

the

Mr. Wilmot A. Perera (Matugama): I want to raise a matter with the Minister of Education. It might surprise him to know that the Government scholarship-holders at Matugama Central School for whom accommodation has not been found in the hostels and to whom a monthly allowance of Rs. 20 is paid have not been given these allowances for the last five months. Is that due to lack of funds or to deficiencies in the administration of the Department ? Representations have been made on behalf of these scholars. You cannot expect an indigent person to keep on spending these amounts—Rs. 75 to Rs. 80—to keep his child boarded outside. I am raising this matter because this cannot be the only instance of such non-payment ; there may be such cases all over the country.

5.35 P.M.

Mr. Aluwihare: Might I bring to the notice of the Minister of Education that there are schools in my area which are very badly short of teachers.

Mr. Suntharalingam : Everywhere.

Mr. Aluwihare: There is one teacher to teach 132 pupils in seven classes in Matalapitiya. In the Yatawatta Junior School there should be eleven teachers but there are only

I have looked into the position in many other schools, and the shortages are from three to five teachers. The answer I have got is that the teachers had to be transferred because they applied to go to their home stations. Now, surely, someone in the Department should have seen to it that there were other teachers to replace those who left! situation in some of these schools, apart from other things, is just impossible...

5.36 P.M.

:

The

Mr. C. R. Beligammana (Mawaසභාපතීතුමනි, පළාත් nella): ගරු පාලන ඇමතිවරයාගේ මනැසට යොමු කිරීමට ඉතා වැදගත් කරුණක් තිබේ.

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Mr. Dahanayake: It is becoming well-nigh impossible for a person to make a withdrawal from the Post Office Savings Bank. This has happened because of a new circular, No. 2213 of 5th February, 1953. In terms of this new circular, which is supposed to be for the purpose of preventing fraudulent withdrawals from the Post Office Savings Bank, hardly anybody will be able to make a withdrawal unless the particular individual is known personally to the counter clerk or takes with him or her another person who is known personally to the counter clerk.

I shall read relevant extracts from the circular:

"It should be clearly understood by all concerned that a witness is not legally liable to pay the amount defrauded and that the Department has no claim on him."

Therefore, it is argued in this circular, that counterclerks may place as many obstacles as possible in the way of one who wants to make a withdrawal!

The first rule is

"Both the depositor and the witness should sign in the presence of the paying officer".

The second rule is :

"The witness should be questioned and the contents of the certificate he is giving should be explained to him.”

The officer is told what questions he should ask :

"It is not sufficient for the paying officer to ask a witness merely, 'Do you know this person?' He should ascertain the identity of the payee by asking the Who witness such questions as these:

is this person, please? 'Please say by what name you know him.' How do you happen to know him? Can you please furnish his correct address? "".

The circular goes on to say:

"The signature or the mark of the depositor should not be certified by any employee of the post office or by any petition drawer or other professional writer. The licensed money order writer carrying on his business in the post office verandah may fill in the form on behalf of a depositor whom he knows personally, but he should on no account be permitted to attest the signature of the depositor on a demand form."

"Paying officers are warned that they may be held liable for wrong payments in cases where they have made payments on the signature of a witness without taking all the steps possible to ascertain that the witness is fully acquainted with the identity of the payee.'

I am personally aware that over 75 per cent. of the people who went to the various post offices in the Island to withdraw money were turned away. I watched the work at two post offices. From the moment my identity was revealed, I was asked to sign practically every withdrawal form that was presented.

I was told, in casual conversation with ordinary people inside trains and trams, that this is a new device of this bankrupt Government to conserve the money of other people for its own use.

Mr. Suntharalingam : A dirty trick!

Mr. Dahanayake: I do not myself subscribe to such a fantastic view.

However that may be, the idea of a post office savings bank is not to obstruct people when they want to

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withdraw their money but to help them to do so. If there are difficulties in the way, may I ask the Ministry to consider a proposal which I make ?

The Post Office Savings Bank, which has a few lakhs of accounts, is making quite a tidy sum as profit on these accounts. Why should not a fraction of that profit be invested in giving each depositor, an identity card at the expense of the Post Office Savings Bank? That would prevent all these circulars and the mess which the Government creates by its own remissness.

5.45 P.M.

Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike: In view of the information now disclosed that the real Father of Freedom was not, as many of us in this country had supposed, the late Prime Minister but the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir Ivor Jennings-at least according to himself-I wish to ask whether the Prime Minister will take steps, without delay, to give effect-again according to Sir Ivor Jennings-to the very dear wish of the late Prime Minister himself and fix all Independence Day celebrations for the day on which Sir Ivor Jennings celebrated his honeymoon-[Interruption]-his wedding day and, presumably also, his honeymoon, namely, the 2nd of February ?

May I also ask the Minister of Education, not in his capacity of Minister of Education but as ProChancellor of the University, whether he will not be able to restrain the Head of that institution from making statements, and writing letters, to the Press, that, to say the least, reflects upon the dignity of that institution?

I am sorry the Minister of Health is not here. I wish, however, to mention a matter that concerns his Ministry, and I hope that one of his Colleagues will draw his attention to it. T. B. patients are being discharged from certain institutions. A particular case came to my notice in my own constituency, that of a rather aged lady who was discharged from a T. B. institution. She was

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