I am both immobile as far as walking is concerned and without transport, so I have had to manage the two properties in Polonnaruwa by remote control and have had to face an untold amount of issues. I decided that as it was impossible to manage the staff to allow them to do the cultivation of paddy, that task was dropped and the land given to others to farm for a rent, usually payable in paddy.
Then I had to deal with one member of staff (in a drunken state) who had hit another in the adjoining property owned by my sister. I told the recipient of the blows to make a police report, as I was concerned there would be a repeat of the incident. The Minneriya Police refused to take the statement at first, as they are also resource constrained and each of these incidents have to be investigated. (This is an indication of the ground realities in Sri Lanka where there are so many disputes in villages of this nature and the Police are stretched in being able to investigate them, and so their initial inclination is to refuse to take on board any but the most grave incidents. My name had to be mentioned in order that they agree to take the statement. (Hand written in a large book – no computers yet in the SL Police)
When the investigating officers arrived the next day to speak to the accused, on my property he had evaded the Police, much to my annoyance as this causes further problems for me also. He was then asked to show at the Police the following morning where the accuser was also asked to be present, which he failed to attend, thereby mounting his and my problems.
This staff control and management has already been referred to on numorous occasions and I have yet to come up with suitable solutions to this perennial problem. Staff require ever increasing benefits, not reciprocated by reliable and conscientious performance. I believe the core of the dispute was also to do with one person being honest and the other deceitful, with the latter being shown up by lack of performance and the former unable to take the shame resorting to a lowdown brawl. Why not fire him you may ask, but replacements are also a rare commodity in such parts.
It is important to appreciate how difficult or impossible it is to manage an agricultural enterprise in Sri Lanka by remote control, and in order to effectively perform this productively one needs a much larger investment in Land and Manpower as well as a superior quality of the human capital.