“As the Government Agent of the District I was gazetted as a Deputy Director for Cooperative Development. This had been done with the idea of the Government Agent supervising the Assistant Commissioner of Cooperatives and the work of the Cooperative Department in the District for the purpose of implementing the agricultural development programme. I usurped the full powers of a Deputy Director of Cooperatives and ordered the President of the Morawaka Cooperative Union to use funds available with the Coop Union and establish the industry and get down to manufacturing crayons. I forbid the Assistant Commissioner of Cooperatives from informing his boss, the Commissioner of Cooperatives in Colombo, who could have shot down my activities. The Commissioner was a close friend of mine but no maverick and I was certain that he would not approve my action. I had to keep him in the dark. Sumanapala Dahanayke the President of the Coop Union, the maverick he was, he readily agreed and we got down to establish the industry. Twenty unemployment youths were recruited and the Coop Union purchased the necessary equipment. More youths were employed for packing and handling.
The industry was established and we got down to the making of crayons; labels and boxes were hastily printed and crayons packets were produced to fill a large room. This was done very quickly, working day and night because secrecy was a prime necessity. If the Ministry of Plan Implementation got wind of the project they could stop it forthwith, hold an inquiry and punish me. The task was to establish the manufacturing unit, make good quality crayons and to show them to key Cabinet Ministers and get them involved so that they could stand up for me in case there was a problem. The Minister for Industries Mr T.B.Subasinghe was surprised when shown the crayons that were produced and readily agreed to open the sales. With that we felt safe. With the inauguration of the sales, the industry came to the...
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