This serves, perhaps, as a response to the most recent comment:
Almost all the efforts of elites like Prof Samarajeewa has been a farce. The rural -urban gap has widened as clearly indicative of offerings made in wireless
Chamintha Thilakarathna (Reuters)
Colombo, October 1
After 25 years selling fruit and vegetables at a market in downtown Colombo, Sri Lankan trader MW Ranjith made an investment that to his amazement transformed his life and his business — he bought a mobile phone.
For years Ranjith, and thousands of traders and farmers like him, went without phones, discouraged by high land line charges and lengthy installation delays.
But now a boom in the mobile telecoms market is pulling the informal sector into the economy and even influencing food prices.
“Before I got the phone, if I ran out of vegetables I had no way of getting in touch with farmers,” said the 50-year-old trader, sitting with his phone in one hand and calculating his profits for the day with the other.
“Now all I have to do is to give the farmer a call when demand is low or high to tell him when to send the vegetables.”
Two years ago, there were few mobile handsets visible at Colombo’s Pettah market, Sri Lanka’s fresh produce hub. Today, around 75 per cent of market workers — from stall holders to workers lugging sacks of carrots — have one.
A mobile line rental costs around a fifth of that of a land line, and a sharp fall in handset prices has spurred sales.
“There is a rise in mobile usage in rural areas because of the low cost and because they can carry it with them,” said secretary of the Telecommunications Ministry C Maliyadde.
In 2003, the telecom sector was one of the fastest growing industries in Sri Lanka. Operators and the Central Bank expect it to surge again in 2004 and 2005, especially in the war-torn north, where a two-year truce has silenced the guns of the Tamil Tiger rebels’ two-decade war for autonomy.