(Lanka-e-News – 15.June.2017, 9.05AM) The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation is drowned in a sea of debt , and as a result even the payment of salaries to its employees was delayed last month. While the inefficiency and incompetence of the chairman and its management has become clearly manifest based on this disastrous situation to which it is plunged into , these culprits are still displaying to the world the entity is a wonderful ‘miracle’ when the stark truth is it is a total debacle !
Usually the staff salaries are paid on the 25 th of every month, and the pay sheets are issued on the previous day (24) . Even these sheets were issued only on the 2 5 th in May , while the salaries were paid on the 26 th. These salary payments were made surmounting Himalayan obstacles to collect the cash. That is after the marketing administration running helter skelter in order to collect cash .Finally after crediting to the relevant bank of Ceylon account the monies collected in advance which monies were actually to be received by the Corporation for cricket telecasts only subsequently . The adverse financial climate at the Rupavahini seriously militated against the efforts.
There are about 1300 employees in the National Rupavahini Corporation , and they are spread among the Colombo , Pidurutalagala , Hantane and other branches. The Corporation needs about Rs. 65 million monthly to pay the salaries of the employees.
The Rupavahini Corporation is indebted to the tune of a whopping Rs. 450 million approximately . Hitherto the salaries of the staff were paid out of an overdraft obtained from Bank of Ceylon , headquarters located in the Fort . The overdraft amount granted was Rs. 170 million . This sum has been obtained via several overdrafts at interest rates of 11%, 12%, 15% ,17 % and 24 %.( it is to be noted when the bank loan exceeds Rs. 145 million , an interest rate of 24 % is applied). Recently the bank had even intimated by letter to the Corporation that if the repayment is delayed after exceeding the Rs. 145 million slab , the Corporation will be blacklisted.
The last month salaries were paid by the Corporation after settling the bank overdraft outstanding of Rs. 55 million , and obtaining another overdraft facility of Rs. 65 million. Therefore the Corporation will be hard pressed to pay the June salaries because that sum must be obtained from its Bank of Ceylon account No. 2323275 through a loan.
Meanwhile the overdraft facility obtained from its Bank of Ceylon Torrington branch is Rs. 21 million. There too the interest payable to the bank is 24 % when the loan amount exceeds Rs. 15 million.
The electricity bills of the Corporation is in excess of Rs. 1.2 million. When the Electricity Board threatened to terminate the power supply , , the Corporation has been able to postpone the disconnection for two weeks by promising to pay a fraction of the arrears.
The Corporation owed a sum of Rs. 17 million to the Cricket Association . In connection with the current cricket telecasts , out of the sum of Rs. 70 million payable to the cricket association , Rs. 50 million must be paid before the commencement of the tournament, yet the Corporation could only pay Rs. 17 million to the association.
Though the Association has made a request to settle the balance , so far the Corporation had been able to make payments only out of advances collected as loans from various Institutions out of the monies due to the Corporation on account of future telecasts. In other words , the top management of the Corporation has driven the entity into a grave financial predicament with the result , even the future cricket telecasting activities of the Corporation are befouled and stymied.
In addition , because the membership fee payable to Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union has not been paid for a long time , that arrears has also reached over US dollars 9000.00
Employees’ Insurance cancelled
Meanwhile the health insurance of the employees have by now been suspended. Though the employees’ insurance payment at 10 % was made for the first quarter, now for the last over six months it has gone into arrears. Annually a sum of Rs. 40 million was paid to the Insurance Corporation . But now that payment had not been made , the Corporation goes down in history as the Institution that suspended the insurance cover of the employees due to its default in payment . This doom and gloom the Corporation has been plunged into because of an inefficient chairman and an incompetent Director General appointed by president Maithripala Sirisena , will also create history because of the egregious irreversible blunder that was committed .
Now the employees do not have an insurance cover. Consequently , the Rupavahini Corporation itself is taking measures to pay for the employees’ medical needs . Because the Corporation does not have sufficient funds it is delaying the payment of the hospital bills which are providing the health services. Due to regular payment delays the hospital authorities have to go on contacting the Corporation’s Insurance division every now and then.
At the moment the arrears to be paid amounts to about Rs. 2 million. Consequently , the Rupavahini Corporation is facing the threat of getting its name entered in the blacklist of private hospitals. The withdrawal of the Insurance cover is borne testimony to by the fact that the medical bill of the daughter of the Rupavahini chairman was footed by the Rupavahini Corporation .
Based on the rating of television channels of SL , Rupavahini is at 7 th place. While the private TV channels in SL are making profits , the government Rupavahini Corporation is incurring losses because of the gross mismanagement and incompetence of the administration.
It is the chairman who should shoulder the full responsibility, and be accountable for this. It is because of his inefficiency and arrogance coupled with a Director General who is also of the same ilk and deplorable standard , the fate of Rupavahini is writ on the wall . The middle management too is in a state of paralysis because they are aware it will serve no point or purpose going against them .
What was Rs. 150,000.00 for 30 secs. Is now Rs. 2500.00
Though the income of Rupavahini was Rs. 140 million during last April festival season , other days its income is only Rs. 1 1/ 2 million per day. In 2015 too ,during the reign of the last regime, the monthly income of Rupavahini was about Rs. 160 million only , but the monthly expenditure was more than Rs. 180 million.
The charges for some commercial advertisements lasting 30 seconds have dropped to an amount as small as Rs. 2500.00. This is because of the introduction of the package scheme , and all the murky goings on were raging behind that . Rupavahini in fact must during its Prime time charge Rs. 150,000.00 for 30 seconds air time. Even though the Rupavahini chairman was aware of the stark facts, but because of his weakness , irresponsibility and inefficient administration , the rot set in.
Administration of Rupavahini is run by the Maithri faction of the consensual government , and the high rung administrators are those appointed by Maithripala Sirisena .Its chairman is lawyer Ravi Jayawardena , and the Director General is lawyer Thusira Malawathanthri . The active director is lawyer Nuwan Somaratne appointed by former minister of media ,Gayantha Karunatileke.
The travel expenses of Somaratne who goes to Elpitiya daily is met out of funds of Rupavahini , including the expenses of the private secretary . In addition ,for using the expressway ,arrangements have been made by the Rupavahini to pay him that expense too . Fortunately for the Corporation and the country , a new minister was appointed. With that the active director has gone missing. Yet the chairman and the Director General are still holding sway , and continuing to devastate the Corporation.
Each of these individuals on the highest rungs of the main administration is paid a monthly allowance of Rs. 100,000.00, and as their phone , transport and other bills are also met by the Corporation , about Rs. 200,000.00 is the expenditure monthly in respect of each of them.
What ‘s more ! Even when the Corporation is in dire straits , the high rung management including the chairman and board of directors citing their own impecunious condition , got their own fuel allowance raised from Rs. 30,000.00 to Rs. 50,000.00 most ruthlessly and shamelessly .
Mihintale Pooja or filthy cash pooja ?
The chairman who is moving heaven and earth to please the president with a view to safeguard his own position , sought to secure the live telecast of the Mihintale Poson ceremony participated by the president , but without avail.
For 8 years in the past , Rupavahini telecast the Poson function from Thantrimale Vihara . That was done without any payment being made to the Vihara . Hence the expense incurred by Rupavahini was only the production cost. That amount was about Rs. 2 million.
In any event the chairman amidst a storm of controversy insisted that the telecasting of Poson Poya shall be done from Mihintale . The Mihintale prelates demanded Rs. 5 million from Rupavahini in view of the telecast , but cash strapped Rupavahini got that amount reduced to Rs. 3 million. Rupavahini was therefore only granted rights to the Buddha pooja and a bana sermon .The chairman had made a plan to collect the Rs. 3 million through the bank of Ceylon sponsorship.
Finance minister Mangala Smaraweera has as a policy stated funds will not be released for Temples . Hence he was advised not to make that move ,and seek funds from elsewhere.
Yet the chairman by saying he is a representative of the president ignoring the minister’s instructions , had sought funds from an outside source. After collecting Rs. I million from Daya Gamage and Rs. 1 million from Rupavahini , he had tried to use this Rs. 2 million to get only the Mihintale Aloka pooja inauguration .
Though that is a thing that can be secured without making any payment , the chairman disregarding even what the employees point out , is taking action unheeding everything .
The chairman on the 7 th of June had threatened the Finance Director of the Institution that if she does not issue the check of Rs. 1 million to the Mihinthala Poson celebration he would dismiss her from the post. Thankfully , because of the integrity and rectitude of this Finance director (unlike the chairman) , and the objections raised by the employees on the grounds that the Corporation is penurious , the chairman was forced to relent , and the Corporation funds which were to be misused were saved. It is being said , Daya Gamage ‘s money was paid to Miihintale, only God knows what happened to the cash.
‘Sihinayak Rae’ – corruption at its worst !
Meanwhile , the chairman has got involved in a program or rather a business in which payments are being collected from Sri Lankans abroad . This is by claiming the popular ‘Sihinayak Rae ‘ program that was telecast by the Rupavahini is going to be taken abroad , and there is also going to be a musical concert .
By now , one part of it is being implemented in America. So , lawyer Ravi Jayawardena the chairman is full of excitement and eagerness ( sadly , he does not show that eagerness to resuscitate the Corporation which is in a shambles mainly owing to him) as the leader of the group which left for America prostituting his official position for which he is best noted , selling the honor of the art of music , and the reputation of the Rupavahini Corporation.
At the Oman ‘Sininayak Rae’ program , a sum of Rs.35000.00 was collected for a song , and at the program in America US. Dollars 550 .00 was charged for a song, reports say. Yet those collections did not go into the Corporation’s account ,meaning it was an unalloyed corruption. The group has gone for the program in Oman by saying they were going to Anuradhapura.
The chairman who is guilt ridden after bungling the Rupavahini is now doing everything possible to cover it up by resorting to all the disgraceful and deplorable tactics. Even while the Rupavahini is economically routed , this uncaring chairman is seeking to get down the president and hold functions wasting the Corporation funds.
During the past , a program ‘ Children shall be protected like life’ was conducted spending huge amount of funds. Though nothing did the children gain , the Corporation’s funds were sent down the drain. Another program ‘carefully go and return’ was also another wasteful exercise wasting funds. This program did nothing useful to the country .Only accidents in the country rose even as this program was launched. In like manner , preparations are under way to conduct an environmental program .
It is a pity though this is an Institution which has all the opportunities and potential to make profits, yet it has been transformed into an economic debacle . The president and the relevant minister are kept in the dark by the chairman who is distorting the true picture ,and feeding them wrong information .
At any rate the present media minister having perceived the sorry state of the Corporation has ordered this group to resign , however the chairman has taken steps to continue in his position through dubious and devious methods to deceive the minister. Since the minister is in charge of an Institution where the president’s faction is entrenched , the media minister is unable to do anything as it might go against the president. The chairman and the Director General are therefore carrying on regardless without quitting.
This is in fact tantamount to overriding the present media minister , and if by any chance attempts are being made to keep back the chairman and the Director General who are the architects of Rupavahini’s disaster, that would constitute a deliberate move to wreck the future of the Rupavahini and that of the employees . In that case the president and the present media minister must hold themselves directly responsible , the employees opine.
Anyone can get the truth of the above information confirmed from T.M. J. Chandrasekera the information officer of the Rupavahini Corporation appointed by the good governance government under the right to information enactment . His address is as follows :
T.M.G. Chandrasekera , Director Research and training unit , Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation , Torrington square , Colombo 07.
By a group of employees of Rupavahini Corporation still hoping for good governance .
Translated by Jeff
by (2017-06-15 03:46:54)