waste Archives


At the FAO-ITU e agriculture workshop that I am attending in Bangkok, I was asked to respond to a question on failure of ICT projects in agriculture and why. I responded, saying I will speak only about our activities. I said that the market information system Harsha de Silva started as an e Sri Lanka pilot project; kept going with his own money; and then handed over to LIRNEasia to run and study is by many criteria a success: it was picked up by a mobile operator (a rare case of sustainability being achieved); the data that it produces are reused by government organizations; the data are used. But by my criteria, it is yet to succeed. My criteria are as follows: (i) the markets must clear, the way you measure this is by measuring the waste carted off the wholesale markets at the end of business everyday; (ii) there must be evidence that the law of one price is being found to be observed in a significant number of wholesale markets that are within driving distance of the main sources of supply.
We were happy to note that the Telecom Regulatory Commission has pulled the plug on a senseless project that we criticized when first announced and once again, for emphasis. It will be interesting to see how much Surrey Satellite Technology, a firm fronted by the son of an English Lord of some kind, cleared in fees in the past year. I met the man in Colombo. Obviously he would not have paid his way here. The TRC will not proceed with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, the British firm which was commissioned to set up the Sri Lanka Space Communications Company last year, due to the high costs involved.

Sri Lanka warning tower fails

Posted on October 17, 2009  /  0 Comments

It is asked in one of Sri Lanka’s aphorisms whether the sword that is not ready for war is to be used for cutting kos (jack fruit)? That is the same question we have to ask the Ministry of Disaster Management about its warning towers. When oh when, will the Ministry realize that these towers are a colossal waste of money and put its weight behind DEWN and cell broadcasting? But in Sri Lanka’s southern coastal village of Godawaya, a tsunami warning tower failed to emit a siren. Local fishermen who had stayed home to take part waited for a few hours and decided to go to work.

On the cons of satellites

Posted on February 13, 2009  /  4 Comments

Satellites were the darlings of the development set back when I was in grad school in the 1980s.   When I returned to Sri Lanka and started working at the Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Modern Technologies, one of my assignments was to get Sri Lanka connected to the Internet via satellite.  It didn’t, and I left. As a result, I’ve acquired quite a bit of knowledge on satellites along the way.