A Rejoinder from the Sugar Insurance Fund Board
We refer to the article bearing the signature of “L.M. Ram” under heading ‘Why are sugar planters being unjustly penalized’ which appeared in your edition of 14-20 June 2013 and would be grateful if the following rejoinder could be published in your next edition.
Following an actuarial review adopted by the Sugar Insurance Fund Board (SIFB) in November 2011, the Sugar Insurance Fund Act was amended by Act No. 1 of 2012 and for the first time in its history premium has been brought down as low as 2.75% for ranking of 15 and 4.4% for raking of 5, i.e. an average of 3.6% of the value of insurable sugar, which before the amendment stood at an average of 7.15% ranging between 5.5% to 8.8% of the value of insurable sugar. The “10% of the gross income” stated in the article is erroneous.
The Fire Insurance Account, a distinct account, was introduced in 1974. Currently Insureds pay a premium of Rs 12.50 for each tonne of insurable sugar, say for a potential of 6 tonnes of sugar or 75 tonnes of canes per hectare of land under cane cultivation the insured pays a premium of Rs 1 per tonne of cane insured, whereas an amount of Rs 390 per tonne is payable as compensation for each tonne of cane lost as a result of accidental intercrop fire. In the particular case, mill was in operation, however, the purity of cane was low which may be attributed to lateness in harvesting and consigning burnt canes to the mill.
One may wish to note (consult our annual reports on our website www.sifb.biz) that the fire account is in deficit consecutively over the past five years. Nonetheless, the plea of the planter has been noted and will be subject to study.
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1. We have been given to understand that with the installation of speed cameras we should cooperate by changing our number plates and, at first, a date limit was set. For various reasons the date limit was postponed and there are still many vehicles with their old plates on the road.
As it is, if the speed cameras after repairs and fine-tuning are put back in operation, those who have not complied are not likely to be “flashed” and so go scot-free.
I think the authorities should ensure that all vehicles should be fitted with the prescribed number plates BEFORE the speed cameras are put back into use.
2. Those motorists driving cars, 4X4 or vans fitted with tinted glasses and using a mobile phone while driving are not likely to get “caught” by the police. So, are some more equal, as George Orwell would have put it?
3. Similarly in the case of “hit and run”, even if the number plate of the concerned vehicle has been noted by a witness, that witness would be hard put to say or swear with certainty that he can identity the driver.
4. Road signs are commonly set up on the left side of us drivers, and on occasions I have missed them because they were masked by a lorry or bus. In my opinion they should be put on both sides of the road.
I would like to share with you and your readers the following quotes by Ogden Nash (1902-1971):
“Beneath this slab
John Brown is stowed.
He watched the ads
And not the road”
and also in an ecological mood:
“I think I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the bill-boards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all”
again by Ogden Nash.
Bonne route everybody.
* Published in print edition on 21 June 2013