Trouble at the Ceylon Electricity Board renewed following the resignation of its chairman Anura Wijepala recently. As usual, fingers continue to be pointed at each other. Some suggest that his resignation was influenced by the CEB engineers’ union, subject minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and ministry secretary Dr. Suren Batagoda. He had resigned reportedly after being told to bring the CEB’s internal audit division, which functioned under the chairman and the board of directors, under the general manager. That issue had been brewing for some time and the chairman resigned after a deadline was given for the handover.
The CEB is not short of problems and many a hitherto unheard of stories started to make rounds after the chairman’s resignation. Before going into those, Lanka News Web asked Dr. Batagoda about the matter at hand.
He is of the view, and the general view of the ministry, that the CEB internal audit division should function independently for it to carry out its intended purpose. “An audit is done to find out, if any wrong had been done. Solutions can be found if wrongs are identified. Correcting wrongs will lead to development. Those that need to be independent should remain independent. It is one thing for everybody to assist in the administrative affairs. But, in such a scenario, all should work with one stand.”
It is known that the CEB engineers’ union has a big say in the institution. Other trade unions are displeased with the engineers’ union due to its inflexibility. According to CEB sources, everything is done, and should be done, according to the wishes of the engineers’ union. That is why there is no end to problems at the CEB.
This is what the secretary has to say, “Anyway, there is a clash among the trade unions, director board and the chairman. That is due to the conduct of the engineers. They are no flexible. In such a scenario, it is not an easy task to solve problems. The chairman too, is an engineer. Why should the independently functioning internal audit division be brought under the general manager? That makes the engineers’ intention clear. Some accuse us of siding with the engineers. That is completely wrong. We want to solve this problem. The CEB has conceited people. It is not flexible to solve a problem there. Not even the chairman can control them. The media reported that we had instructed the chairman to bring the internal audit department under the general manager before May 02. Wrong things are communicated. As the ministry, we are on a correct stand. Mainly the clashes among the engineers’ union, other trade unions, director board and the chairman have aggravated problems at the CEB.”
According to what the secretary says, everybody wants to increase their share. That is why there is no end to the problems at the CEB. Almost every time, the finger is leveled at the engineers. A collective workplace should have a collective responsibility. Everything should be faced collectively and resolved collectively. That exactly is what is not happening now. Doesn’t such a conflicting situation breach the services of one of the leading institutions in the country?