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Data collection by Inland Revenue Dept.

I understand that officials of the Inland Revenue Department are visiting houses and collecting information from the residents pertaining to their income, wealth, etc. Even if the residents claim having submitted the latest Return of Income, the officials are demanding direct information from them.

We, the tax payers, have no objection to information being collected by the Inland Revenue Department in this manner. However, the department should ensure that bogus persons do not take advantage of this action for their benefit. . At present we are aware of several incidents where persons posing off as officials from the police, armed forces, intelligence unit, etc. have gained entry into houses and robbed the residents.

Even though the public has been advised to verify the identity of such persons before permitting them to enter their houses, this has not been successful as there are lots of facilities available for impersonation. In addition, the public fear that the valuable information collected by such bogus persons may be conveyed to fraudulent parties
Therefore, I suggest the following steps be taken by the Inland Revenue Department prior to sending their officials on this mission:
1. Issue letters of authority in all three languages to the visiting officials with their photographs, certifying their names, designations, NIC numbers, etc.
2. Issue a press notice giving the names, designations and contact telephone numbers of officers of the department with which the public can cross check the identity of the visiting officers. The residents cannot rely on such information given by the visiting officer himself, as he may produce false details in support of his identity.
3. Since these officers are visiting residences, it is important there is at least one lady officer in the team.
4. Strict instructions should be given to the officers to be courteous when collecting the information.
5. The public should be assured that the department is not conducting a raid, but only collecting direct information
By adhering to the above, the department could ensure full cooperation from the public in furnishing the required particulars.

S. R. Balachandran
Council Member
The National Chamber of
Commerce of Sri Lanka


Cost of living: Do not sob

This is a short story about the Cost of Living (CoL). I will not worry readers with a lengthy economic discussion. I live in Dehiwala, close to Hill Street. I went to a boutique to buy 500 gms of potatoes for my house. Only my wife and I live together. Our requirements are few.

The first boutique wanted Rs. 45 for 500 grammes of potatoes. Having done regular marketing, I thought it prohibitive and smiled at the shopkeeper and left. On my way out I saw many posters with the green elephant symbol on the outer wall. I went to the next shop and inquired. They wanted Rs.38. They too had posters with a picture of the Leader of the Opposition. I went to the next where the salesman quoted Rs. 35. Not satisfied, I went to the next, where a picture of the President was featured prominently. They wanted Rs. 28.50. I bought it, and had potatoes for dinner.
The only way to stop profiteering is to gazette the price with a mandatory sentence annexed. However the avaricious vendor, hoping that he will not be found out, will sell at a price he fancies. The remedy will be is to have price control inspectors to ensure compliance.

A host of PCIs would be a burden on the state coffers. That will certainly give employment, but simultaneously breed corruption and bribery in society, bringing back the much loathed queue.
Prices moving up signify that there is more money in the hands of consumers. The war that has been forced on the government has released much money into society. Politically inspired state and private sector agitation brings money into the hands of the populace, though it is ill-gotten. The present development plans of the government is pumping money into the hands of workers of every description; engineers, architects, labourers and everyone else, including the shop­keepers who vend the required paraphernalia.
My advice is please do not sob, have faith in the government, tide over and you will see a fresh dawn of sumptuous opulence descending on our homeland.
Lindsay Perera


Web of deceit

If tormenting desire
Can be satiated
With stunning speed of a galloping horse
I wish to be rejuvenated
Resting suavely
Focusing my penetrative attention
To the soothing healing powers of yore
Or more precisely to the contours
Of youth’s early spring of beauty
As I listen spellbound
To your familiar lullaby
And am instantly transformed
Into a cupid-child
Till your caressing soft hands
Prick me with a tinge of guilt
As the enigmatic and soft-spoken masseuse
Tightens her grip
On my virile symbol of manhood
And am swept away, perilously
By the undercurrents of
Irresistible temptation
Entangled blithely
In an enticing web of deceit.
Ranjan Amarasinghe


Powerless, powered, super-powered

‘Yes, the standards that apply to the superpowers do not apply to Third World countries such as ours.’ So states your editorial of Sunday, October 14.
This is sure to disturb a hornet’s nest if you do not pursue further clarification as there cannot be standards in objective truth – truth is universal and should apply to all humanity whether they are powerless, powered or even super-powered.
There is only one truth and one power – the power that spins the universe. All human beings are only trustees of this supreme power and if it is misused, it should be pointed out and not by any means justified!

However, I fully agree that little Sri Lanka should be more diplomatic and not ill-timed in advising and treating world leaders, and point out matters to them more discreetly; we must accept that in the situation we are in, with so much debt to the world, we have to constantly use our begging bowl to meet our deficit budget – a deficit due perhaps to our arrogance and pride. We must realise that beggars cannot be choosers when proffering advice to them on historical human rights violations – though factually so, and advising them to look into animal rights, also factually so!
We have to be more concerned about the rights of human families, of those human victims we often see cut and chopped and thrown into drains like animals!

Steps have to be taken regarding their moral education so that the young in Sri Lanka do not witness such gory and horrid scenes so very often in the print and electronic media!
We must search within!
Oscar E. V. Fernando
Colombo 5


Bhaila must follow straight way without fooling masses

Quite by chance I tuned into a radio programme this Tuesday morning and heard you making some astounding statements. You stated that our Ambassador in Paris was recalled due to “exigencies of service.” What is the need for the services of Ambassador here in Colombo? Could you please explain? Please do not take us the people, to be fools and insult our intelligence. We do not swallow all the crap you fellows dish out, so please don’t make such statements. They do not reflect well on you and only makes you sound foolish. In this regard I wish to quote to you from the Holy Koran—please read “al- An’am 6:151-153,  “Do not indulge in shameful deeds whether open or secret”; “When you speak be just, even though it be against a close relative. And fulfil the covenant of Allah. This is my way, the straight way”.

 The second astounding statement that you made was that it is a common practice for politicians to appoint lackeys from outside, to cadre positions in our missions abroad. Check your facts Mr. Deputy Minister. Could you name those appointed by Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike? It was only former Minister Hameed who went to town and appointed six ‘close friends’ and a few others to our missions: neither Ranjan Wjeratne nor Harold Herath appointed any lackeys; Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar was extremely correct and never appointed anyone from outside the Foreign Service to any career slots for he realized that it was counter-productive and not in the national interest. The Minister who followed him however, had no such qualms. He is said to have made a number of questionable appointments but in fairness to him he made most of his appointments to minor positions such as chauffeurs and peons, This practice leads to corruption and should never be permitted. This is the reason why statutes should be promulgated to protect institutions.   Procedures too should be statutorily stipulated to protect the country from designing unscrupulous perverted politicians who prostitute national institutions to their purposes.

So Minister Bhaila, don’t be a party to any wrong doing for which you would have to answer to Allah. And don’t think you can escape responsibility by stating that it is the Ministry that is making these ‘criminal’ appointments of cronies and the ad hoc transfers. Finally, when you state that charges are being levelled alleging malpractice by the government only because of some conspiracy against the government, you surely know that this is not true. Once again please remember what the prophet said “To thine own self be true”.
A mourner at the funeral of the F.S  


Outsourcing of human resources and erosion of workers’ rights

Sqn. Ldr. J.T. Rex Fernando should be congratulated on his article on a very current human resources problem – ‘Outsourcing Human Resources and Erosion of Worker Rights,’ which was published in your esteemed newspaper on October 6, 2007.
The writer has rightly attempted to emphasise on the seriousness of the problem and focus the attention of the debt of labour and set out the insidious ways multinational and even Blue Chip companies layoff their permanent staff and replace them with outsourced labour.

This is indeed a very unhealthy trend. Regrettably and very strangely trade unions have adopted a very nonchalant attitude towards this problem, which has resulted in the abdication of worker rights. Fernando should be congratulated for the timely article, which was well-compiled, with an intensive analysis of the problem associated with outsourcing.
Dr. C. M. Rambukpotha
Colombo 7


Private lives of politicians

I am an ardent admirer of Nelson Mandela. I made a special visit to South Africa, especially to see Robben Island where Mandela was incarcerated for over 25 years. I was shown the tiny prison cell where he spent these years.
In passing I asked the guide whether the South African people ever disliked or criticised Mandela’s private life viz. his many wives, etc. This is what the guide told me. ‘Sir, we in this country never worry or even try to find out about our leaders’ private lives. If they perform their political responsibilities properly, that’s all that matters and we love and admire them for ever.’
How nice it will be if our Sri Lankans too follow suit!
Dr. W. B. Wijekoon


Sirasa Super Star – Well done, Nadini

Sirasa Super Star is a very popular TV programme watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers in Sri Lanka. The show also gave birth to a new class of audience who were lovers of Western music now being drawn to Sinhala music and appreciating the talent and ability of these completely new and unknown stars.

The record states there were over 55,000 participants initially and they were finally pruned down to the top 10 who were all extremely good but only one would be chosen as the final Super Star.

I believe that a Super Star is not necessarily a super singer. A star has to have qualities of personality, poise, education, guts, confidence and good looks combined with the ability to sing well and capture the attention of the audience.
In this area there was one participant who was outstanding and held the attention of many until she was eliminated out of the final five participants. This star was none other than young Nadini Premadasa who performed her roll with absolute confidence.

She was not deterred by the many stories that were doing the rounds with allegations of favoritism due to her wealth, position, occupation and social status. This young girl went about her work completely unaffected and with great confidence, brushing all these aside. Nadini has tremendous talent and a special ability to capture the complete attention of the viewers with her charm and good looks.

When she was eliminated from the final rounds she took this up with the best of spirits, smiling and thanking those who assisted her to come up so far. No silly, sentimental tears were shed. She did her part to the best of her ability and as she aptly remarked, received the most appreciative responses from her many well-wishers and fans from all parts of the world.
Well done, Nadini. You have shown what you are made of. A great future is ahead of you. Face it with confidence as you have always done and greater things than Sirasa Super Star are in store for you.
From your many fans


Where is the CMC heading?

After the local government elections of 2006, Mayor Imthiyas was sworn in as the de facto Mayor of Colombo as an independent member under the ‘Spectacle Group.’
During the past 15 months, the administration of the council has broken down and corruption and mismanagement is rampant, as stated by many Municipal Councillors, including Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the Leader of the CMC Opposition.
A no-confidence motion was brought against Imthias and his administration a couple of weeks ago and was passed, but the Mayor refuses to stand down. Because of the incompetence of the Mayor, the Municipal Commissioner is handling the day to day administration of the council.

The Commissioner has accused the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor as being ignorant and illiterate and he went further and said that Nananyakkara was an unsuccessful politician but he (the Commissioner) was a successful public officer.
Deputy Mayor Rajendra has gone on record to say that the Commissioner, Dr. Liyanage is corrupt and if he is appointed as the Special Commissioner, Rajendra and his group members would begin a fast unto death.

During the last one year, the state of the roads, street lighting, garbage collection, etc., and almost every sector of the municipal administration has deteriorated and rate payers are suffering in silence although they are called upon to pay their rates and taxes. The quality of the services provided by the council have fallen to a low ebb today.

The public cannot remain silent any further and they request the minister, governor and the President to remove the present Mayor and the Councillors, including the Municipal Commissioner, as they have failed miserably and proved themselves incompetent in handling the affairs of the premier city of Colombo even after 15 months in administration.
We hope the government and the President would restore the city to its previous glory by appointing men of eminence and competence.
K. P. Indrajith
Colombo 6









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