Whither SL Rupavahini Corp. the national Institution ? Drowned in a sea of debt due to corruption and mismanagement at the top !

(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)

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  2 discussion on this news

Thanks a lot dear Sandaruwan for your news on Rupavahini. We admire your news always as you are the only person giving us latest genuine & hot news.Our medias are in deep slumber. They only give us dud news. Thanks again dear Len.
-- by Gratiaen Hewa on 2017-06-15

Looks like Rupavahini is on the way to Vanamohini ! What meaningful, timely and effective emergency measures are being taken by the hell-on-earth person, who appointed the whole Board, whose incompetence is high as Pidurithalagala, to save the thousands of jobs that are on the line when Vanamohini shows up?
-- by Rupa Tillekeratne on 2017-06-16

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