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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Pragmatic solution to stray dog menace
When the British, a nation of dog lovers ruled here in Ceylon, they encouraged the rearing of pets, both dogs and cats. Dog shows are a product of their interest in breeds; though now it appears that the preoccupation evinced then, has waned.
However, there was method, I would say, in their madness. It was compulsory that all dogs were licensed and wore a medal on a collar. The animals had to stay within the owner’s premises. Dogs taken out had to be muzzled, and on a leash. Rabies vaccination was compulsory and the attendant should be in possession of a valid veterinary certificate. The practice continued even after Independence.
However, an element of brashness and impudence amongst a coterie of people who are classified as dog lovers have widened their circle and influence and give scant respect to the rights of the populace. They permit entire broods to roam the streets and make it their home, endangering the lives of pedestrians. They usually snarl, for men have usurped their street abode.

Occasionally, they snap and bite aggressively, for has not their habitat been appropriated, wrongfully? They stray into the backyards of homes in search of food. It is an incessant nuisance that the housewife has put up with. They topple kitchenware doing financial damage to homes without surrounding walls. On the streets, they sleep supreme, carelessly interfering both with pedestrians and vehicular traffic. It is time that authorities and officialdom gave serious thought and if humane methods fail, bring back the dog shooter. That will get pet owners to keep their dogs at home.
Sterilisation is no answer, for the practice will take years to bring down the stray population. Bringing down is not the problem but the total elimination of the street dog will, give back the street to men! There will be no brutal of killing of dogs!

The dog is the chief purveyor of rabies, but is known as ‘man’s best friend’. It is misnomer when referring to the stray street dog. The rabid dog’s saliva, its lick or bite is certain death. In the first eight months in 2009 thirty-five people died of rabies though 250,000 were treated for dog bites. A staggering 2.5 million domestic dogs and strays have been vaccinated and sterilised free, under the state’s rabies control programme.
A stupendous mind boggling figure is spent annually on rabies treatment. Each dog bite victim costs the state Rs.35,000. Records show that there are about 2,000 bites each day and 601,000 temporary vaccination centres scattered over the country with about 60 mobile veterinary clinics manned by three officers involved.
Is this not abject buffoonery? Why not be pragmatic and realistic by going back to the British practice. Bring back the dog shooter and people will be watchful. The street dog population will dwindle, with animal lovers being more circumspect and keeping dogs away from streets. The tomfoolery will go and the streets will revert to its rightful owners, the city dwellers. The Rs.144 million that Minister Maithripala seeks could be diverted to development, giving a salubrious, bracing atmosphere devoid of strays.
Ivor Samarasinghe

 

What sort of tourists will gambling bring in?

As usual, the short-sighted policies of some evil politician won and now we have permission to open casinos wherever one wants to. The theory is that this will bring in more tourists. May be, but what sort of tourists? Those, who will booze, womanize and gamble away their fortunes. All these go hand in hand. If a country dreams that they are going to become rich by sinful money without getting its own morals affected, we’d better think again.
On the one hand, the President is trying to curb alcohol drinking, bring in better moral values and lead the country into a prosperous path. On the other hand, he seems to be giving in easily to short cuts which obviously are destructive in the long run.
The objections shown to the idea itself should have warned the government of the vices of the gambling casinos. On the other hand, if one argues this is only for the foreigners, that itself is against the human rights of the citizens. No place, not even one single inch of the country, should be taboo for the citizens.
This is bad idea. Certainly, a rotten idea. Why, oh why, that our politicians cannot see sense? Why is that, evil always seems to be winning? Why cannot the right thinking majority politicians instill some sense into the law makers?

Dr Mrs Mareena Thaha Reffai

 

Noble hopes of Mother Sri Lanka for 2011

2011 dawn of a new, fortunate, powerful, brilliant era
Novel vision, miraculous reawakening with a multiple aurora.
Worldwide celebrates the New Year with hopes of tremendous progress
Sri Lankans proud long-standing aggression curbed, mammoth redress.

With numerous progressive schemes, let’s lead our country to true prosperity
Let’s forget, forgive, whirlwinds sporadic moments in recorded history.
Let’s make a pledge to transform Sri Lanka “The Wonder of Asia”
Salute unequivocally expeditious developments, changing face of Mother Lanka.

May a new chapter commence to bless every citizen in areas diverse!
Let hopes of prosperity sprout from every corner sans a trace of curse.
With meaningful true liberation, let’s step forward as Asia’s miracle
To reach millennium ideas, goals miles away from any debacle.

In perpetual homage, let’s extend our warm wishes, far-sighted achievements
Heartfelt fervent wishes for rapid key destination, heroic implements
Amidst rapturous applause island-wide a fresh garland of glory
Let’s prove Sri Lankan spirit beyond measure, under one banner, bold story.

Let’s hope respectful reverence from all Sri Lankans to overcome adversity
For human existence let’s guarantee religious harmony with dignity.
Let’s emerge on the world map a powerful proud entity
Towards a greener nation let’s offer our sagacity to guide the country.

Our nation poised to master the skies, a great venture so smart
In Hambantota, with a second international grand airport.
Let us extend maximum togetherness to protect our Motherland,
To be globally recognised, remarkable episode, surpassing a magic word.

Let the guiding light that banished tears, fears in ethnic groups,
Not allow wounds fester or form new dreadful troops
Our motherland on the threshold of a flourishing tomorrow, a reality
Let’s add our might to realise “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” changing destiny.

Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon

 

Beruwala town clock tower

The clock tower in the middle of the Beruwala town has been standstill since a long time without being repaired.
The public is much grateful if this clock tower is brought back to life soon.
C M Kamburawala

 

Private hospitals fleece the public
I recently channeled a consultant at a leading private hospital in Colombo 5 and obtained my appointment. A day or two later, I realised that I had a prior engagement from which I could not get out of, and decided to postpone e appointment by days.
The reason I had to postpone it by seven days is because the consultant was due only once a week! However, to my utter disbelief, the channeling counter demanded an additional Rs.300/- for making the change. The irony is that they would accommodate me without the additional charge but would list me as the last patient on the day. This is clearly another instance of the manner in which these so called ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ continue to fleece the public.
There are so many complaints from the public about the manner in which these hospitals operate and sadly, there is no help to the public from anyone and they continue to bear the brunt of these unethical, unjustified charges. It’s no wonder that all these hospitals claim to have realised huge profits at the end of the year! Yet, they advertise themselves as ‘paragons of virtue’ whereas their hearts are akin to rotten apples!
Surely, its time the Ministry of Health looked at these ‘operators’ with some concern. But for the mess they are in, would any sensible person prefer to visit a government hospital for treatment? Unfortunately, they have no choice but to be fed to these ‘wolves’.
R de Silva

 

Pipe seats installed at bus halts

I saw that the newly put up bus halts have two sets of tubular metal pipes of diameter about 3’’ in the shape of an up-turned U placed one juxtaposed to the other to be used as seats for those who wants to sit till the bus arrives. These seats don’t serve the purpose it is meant for, in particular, for the travellers, who are big-made or chubby, as it doesn’t have a suitable width. Even for those with a slim figure, it will be very uncomfortable to sit. Hope the authorities will replace with proper seats for the convenience of the bus travellers or at least add one more pipe in order to make the width of the seating area wider.
Mohamed Zahran

 

Disparities in state bank pension schemes

Before the first Republican Constitution, which was passed in Parliament in 1972, there were directives issued to state banks to maintain pension schemes with a sense of responsibility. Therefore, disparities could not be seen in the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) pension scheme when compared to People’s Bank (PB) pension scheme unlike today.

In 1993, ‘The Pension Reserve Fund Account,’ which was maintained by BOC was converted to a ‘Pension Trust Fund’ showing the red light to both employees and pensioners. However, this was done with the blessings of former union leaders of the bank. Presently, the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Pension Trust Fund is held every year and decisions relating to pensions are taken at this meetings without the participation of sufficient number of pensioners.

Although, trade union leaders (CBEU) and office bearers of the respective pensioners association represent the Pension Board separately and although they sit at AGMs every year, pensioners’ problems seem to be remaining unchanged. One could guess that People’s Bank Pension Trust Fund is quite similar to the BOC Fund except small differences. But it is a well known fact that on many occasions, trustees in both banks have taken arbitrary decisions violating pensioners’ rights. It is the duty of the elected trustees to ensure that regulations are followed.
Today, state banks’ employees who are entitled to pension have to depend on the money available in the Pension Trust Fund. It is regrettable to note that the pension entitlements including commuted pension, W&OP, medical facilities are full of irregularities. Following are some disparities that should be addressed by the authorities.

1. PB Pensioners’ (including spouses) are entitled for the ‘once and for al’ facility which provides Rs. 40,000 for critical illnesses like bypass operations, kidney transplant etc; but BOC pensioners are not entitled for this.
2. PB pays 90% of the salary as pension (full pension) for those who have completed 30 years of service without any condition, but BOC pays full pension (85%) with a condition that employees have to retire at the age of 55 or above even when they have completed over 30 years before reaching the 55 years. Otherwise, they will be deprived of the full pension.
3. Under BOC medical scheme, pensioners, who have retired as executives, will be paid Rs. 50,000 for hospitalisation, but under the same scheme lower grade pensioners are entitled only for Rs.32,500.
4. PB pays non-deductible commuted pension for those with over 30 years service (applicable to those who retired in 1977), but BOC pays a ten year deductible commuted pension.
The AGM of the PB Pensioners’ Association is held every year at the BMICH. Pensioner, who attended the previously held meetings, were well looked after and entertain them with a free lunch. AGM of the BOC Pensioners’ Association is held at district levels without a free lunch (pensioners have to pay Rs. 500 for their lunch).
The rules in respect of contributions towards the W&OP were amended by BOC recently.
Accordingly, members have to contribute to the fund for only 35 years (420 months) but the bank’s Superannuation Department has over deducted contributions to W&OP from some members without following the new regulation for all members in an equal manner. Unfortunately those who have been victimised due to this have not been re-funded of their arrears.

W G Chandrapala
Retired employee
BOC

 

Equal right to live anywhere

When my husband, Wimal Amarasekara was GA Jaffna in the mid-seventies, there were about 20 to 25 thousand Sinhalese living there.
Mostly, all the bakeries were run by the Sinhalese down South. When they met the GA and said that they wanted to buy land but they were unable to do so because the Tamil people living in Jaffna did not want to sell their land. So, he decided to give land to about 300 families.
They were brave enough to live there amidst all the hardships. But then in 80’s, they had to leave – I personally think that they should be given back the land that was given to them.
All must live together to get the feeling of ‘our country’ not yours or mine, after all, we are all Sri Lankans.
Rangi Amarasekera

 

Appreciations

Ronali Mendis de Silva

Her life confined to Baptist Church

Ronali succumbed to a massive heart attack recently. She was married to a Baptist Minister Heshan de Silva. Ronali has left behind not only Heshan and others but also her children, the youngest being two months old.
I first met Ronali soon after she left Bishops College as a member of the Bishops Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC). I still vividly remember that interview that as a person seeking ordination in the church she was very keen to work with children. Therefore, we sent her to Hambantota to do fieldwork. It was then that she met Heshan and married him. The rest of Ronali’s life was confined to the Baptist Church as a spouse of a Baptist Minister.
I kept in touch with them because Heshan was one to my Pilimithalawa students.
It was only a few days before her death that we met at the Pilimithalawa past teachers’ and past students’ lunch that we referred to Ronali’s new baby. And subsequently I met them briefly marketing.
So it was certainly a shock to learn that she had suffered a heart attack at her grandmother’s thanksgiving service at which Heshan had preached.
We shall always thank God for Ronali and her very brief life and ministry. Heshan and the family and the others can certainly be rest assured of our love and prayers always.
May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory! Amen.
Sydney Knight

M G W Karunaratne

He moved with all and sundry

M G W Karunaratne of Bohawatte Road, Pannipitiya passed away recently and his funeral took place at the public cemetery, Maharagama. He was attached to the Central Bank as an assistant director till his retirement. He was a religious-minded person who devoted his wealth and time helping the Buddhist temples in the area.
His was first appointed to the Department of Inland Revenue and later he joined the Central Bank. His home town is Madedara in Galle and he was educated at Alutgama Maha Vidyalaya, Alutgama.
He was a kind and helpful person who moved with all and sundry. While in the government service, he built his home at Bogahawatta Road, Pannipitiya.
In fact, we never expected his sudden death. May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!
G Weerasinghe

A Zainulabdeen

Versatile footballer with unbridled enthusiasm

A Zainulabdeen, a distinguished footballer from Slave Island, better known in the area as “Master”, national captain, national coach, technical advisor, president - City Football League, Colombo Football League, secretary - Nationalised Services, a reputed football coach, a highly capable football administrator and above all, a good-hearted gentleman passed away peacefully on September 13, 2010, after a brief illness. He leaves behind his wife and two children.
He was educated at Anderson College, Colombo 2, where he started his football career. Excelling at school level, he found a berth in the National Youth Team. From then onwards, it was a natural step into the National Football Team. In the national team he distinguished himself as an intelligent player, in football parlance “Play Maker”. He had an illustrious career in the national team representing Sri Lanka here and overseas for a period spanning almost ten years.

Hand in hand he played for Victory Sports Club leading them from the forefront to annex several trophies at the league and knock out tournaments conducted by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka, City Football League and Colombo Football League.
At the end of his football playing career in the national team, he branched into football coaching. He holds FIFA coaching licence after successfully completing FIFA coaching course in Iran. In the Federal republic of Germany, he completed the coaching instructors’ course under the auspices of FIFA. He was a very successful coach to his club, Victory Sports Club. He successfully completed a few stints in coaching the national team of the Football Federal of Sri Lanka from time to time.

He was also involved in football administration with the Football Federation of Sri Lanka, City Football League and Colombo Football League. His outlook in administration was based on his experience gathered as a club and national player. It was fine blend of upholding football tradition with just and fine administration of the game.
In his association with football, he has been involved in every aspect of the game as player, coach and administrator. He did his tasks in every department true to his heart for the furtherance of the game.
He was a philanthropist in the area and we highly appreciate for his dedicated services in promoting the game especially in the Slave Island area.
He had a great love for the game of football. His approach towards football was unbridled enthusiasm mixed finely with the required skills as player, coach and administrator. He always ensured that the labour input yielded good results.
May Almighty Allah grant him “Jennathul Firdouse” Aameen!

M Oumar Ghouse
German Embassy
Colombo

 

 

 

 

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