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
|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.
|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
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
Let’s forget, forgive, whirlwinds sporadic moments in recorded
Let’s make a pledge to transform Sri Lanka “The Wonder of Asia”
Salute unequivocally expeditious developments, changing face of
May a new chapter commence to bless every citizen in areas diverse!
Let hopes of prosperity sprout from every corner sans a trace of
With meaningful true liberation, let’s step forward as Asia’s
To reach millennium ideas, goals miles away from any debacle.
In perpetual homage, let’s extend our warm wishes, far-sighted
Heartfelt fervent wishes for rapid key destination, heroic
Amidst rapturous applause island-wide a fresh garland of glory
Let’s prove Sri Lankan spirit beyond measure, under one banner, bold
Let’s hope respectful reverence from all Sri Lankans to overcome
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
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
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
Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon
|Beruwala town clock tower
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
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.
|Disparities in state bank
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
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
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
|Equal right to live anywhere
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
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.
Mendis de Silva
Her life confined to Baptist
|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
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
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
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.
|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
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
In fact, we never expected his sudden death. May he attain the
Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!
Versatile footballer with
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
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
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
He was a philanthropist in the area and we highly appreciate for his
dedicated services in promoting the game especially in the Slave
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