Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Rs 20 Billion white elephant of an Army HQ

It is absurd that the Army requires Rs20 Billion for a new Headquarter when even some of the most expensive hotels built to date have not warranted such expenses and in any case the hotel will yield a return to the Country. While I am not against a decent HQ for the Army to be under the modern technology, even fighting future wars with UAVs just as technology is making the use for space and paperwork less important, the future HQ should be small and purposeful and not overloaded with personnel and departments.

It is important to realize that the information age will get all field commanders from the respective camps together without the need for them to travel to the HQ, so internet based communications will be the order of the day in future. I honestly believe not more than Rs5B is needed and the rest is waste and for people to squander the money of this country for personal use.

If we concentrate the mind and build one for Rs 5B we can have a HQ that is relevant to the times we live in. In other countries all this is being reduced, while in Sri Lanka we are increasing the size of the non productive sector.

While I write this the bill to approve this mad spending is going through Parliament, and with an excessive majority the government has they will not budge one inch from their declared objectives. I am sad that whatever the top brass say we just cow down like lambs to slaughter and are unable even in the opposition to face facts and tell them how unpatriotic this expenditure is. In our way of thinking if we ask for a reduction in estimate we are branded as unpatriotic. That is how low the level of debate has got down to in the country.

I hope MPs will have the courage to question this additional wanton waste of state resources to give the top brass in the Army a level of comfort that is certainly not deserved, when we still have students walking barefoot to schools which have not enough desks and chairs to accommodate them and which are acutely short of teachers to teach some of the basic subjects.

1 comment:

  1. Do we have a break up of other important items of capital expenditure by the Government?

    A comparison will tell us where our priorities lie.

    Things tend to become rather expensive when there is a lot of money being made. These are called pork barrel policies, like the "bridges to nowhere" in Japan, where long and expensive bridges were built to connect islands that were virtually uninhabited.