Sri Lanka has been dubbed South Asia's hub for diverse reasons the main being its geographical position in the Indian Ocean. Named as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, this Thrice Blessed Land was a traders' hub from ancient times.
In modern times, successive governments have outlined in their future economic vision for this country that Sri Lanka is a potential shipping hub, an aviation hub, a financial hub, among a host of others, notwithstanding that, Colombo, the capital of the hub, goes underwater with two showers of torrential rain, due to the absence of a proper drainage system, which has not been solved for virtually six decades of independence!
This hub concept was bandied about with such meticulous precision at virtually every five star hotel confab that the hub concept, by itself, which was originally meant for all the positive reasons, earned a sobriquet for the wrong reasons as well. It was not many moons ago, that Sri Lanka was speculated to be South Asia's narcotics hub, which, of course, was not for the wrong reasons.
That was after the largest haul of drugs was found in the Port of Colombo in which former Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne was also implicated! It was a case of 261 kilos of narcotics, concealed in grease cans, shipped from the Karachchi Port on 17 June 2013, and unloaded in Colombo on 22 June 2013, five days later!
With these developments, and the crime rates in this country also scaling up to unprecedented levels, comes another scary development where Sri Lanka might find itself being fast dubbed as South Asia' s Organ Transplant Hub. This has been due to a new and recent discovery that Indian kidney patients and donors are arriving in Sri Lanka to have transplants being done here. The reason is quite simple. The laws in both India and Sri Lanka have it that kidney or other organ transplants are permitted only among blood relations. The Indians are coming here obviously due to their inability to have their surgeries/ transplants done there. But, what needs to be investigated, is how there had been loopholes in the local legal and medical systems for enabling the Indians to have their kidney transplant surgeries done here, if the local laws also permit these surgeries to be performed only among blood relations!
It is also said that the laws governing kidney transplants, or for that matter, any organ transplants, are insufficient. For instance, who monitors as to who arrives here for what transplants? Who permits their entry? We assume that such facilities are more liberal in private hospitals than in their State counterparts, and that is how they are happening as of now. However, the Private Hospitals Association has denied it.
In all due fairness, Health Minister
Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, has ordered an immediate halt to the kidney transplant operations of foreigners following these exposures in the media, but we are also told that the transplant operations for locals will continue. The Health Ministry has also appointed a three- member Committee to do a full scale probe and submit a report within seven days. That was last week, but, now we have it that the Health Ministry has reappointed a five-member Committee of different persons, aimed at expediting the process, which is expected to submit a report in three days.
Now, the million dollar question is, whether the probe on the organ transplant racket will also suffer the same fate as that of the narcotic container racket and all the other high level probes into allegations of billion dollar scams. Let us hope that the appointment of this Committee of five members will also not suffer the same fate as the age old axiom of the appointment of a committee being similar to the visit to the toilet. The similarity being, both having deliberations, lots of noise made in the interim and finally, the matter being dropped!