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DateLine Wednesday, 13 June 2007

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Vehicle revenue licence within three minutes

I went to the Ratmalana Divisional Secretariat this week to obtain my vehicle revenue licence. The counter is open only at 9.00 a.m. Hence as in previous years I went to the office by 8.45 a.m. hoping to be at the top of the queue, as the issue of licences usually takes at least fifteen minutes.

I had not obtained an application form, and I was rather annoyed that no forms had been left outside for applicants to fill as is the usual practice.

As soon as the counter was open, all rushed in the order they had come, I was third in the queue, and I was surprised to find that we had only to hand over the required documents without any application form. The female officer at the counter merely accessed the data which had been stored on the computer, and the applicants were asked to hand over the license fee to her.

There was no separate shroff to accept the money. Within just about two minutes the licence was processed and printed on the printer. Thereafter, it was passed down to the next officer who checked the licence, signed it, and handed it over to the applicant immediately. The whole process took less than three minutes.

As a former senior State officer I must congratulate the relevant authorities for this huge leap forward from the earlier procedure where the records had to be checked with the vehicle file and processed manually, which was a tedious and long process. I hope other divisional secretariats too have introduced this computerised procedure.

Unfortunately though other operations of the Motor Commissioner’s Department like issue of driving licenses and registration of vehicles are also supposed to be computerised, delays in these services continue. If these operations too could be similarly streamlined and expedited, much of the present corruption could no doubt be eliminated.

NIMAL BHARETI
Mount Lavinia

Competing to get a seat - it’s unfair

Issuing a ticket in a public travelling vehicle (a bus, coach or a train) confirms the entitlement of a seat of a passenger.

Nowadays, it has become a habit that the passengers wouldn’t mind travel by standing in these vehicles depending on their need to travel quickly.

I wish to bring to passengers’ notice that there are more things you have to think of when you travel in a public transport. Many people who need a seat are not getting the opportunity to get a seat. May be they are not strong enough to struggle with other crowd to get inside immediately when the bus or the train arrives.

Especially old people, pregnant mothers, disabled people etc.

As Sri Lankans, we are well recognized throughout the world as more hospitable people than any other country. So, why won’t we think of start practising it within the country itself?

When you get into the bus, if there is a vacant seat, always be kind to offer it to a more needful person than you.

We all should be having our own esteem as we are strong enough. The running for a seat has become a usual happening from a recent history. I feel it’s not because they are weak, but to compete with others and to win.

What you get ultimately by getting a seat? It is different issue if you have a heavy bagages or a child accompanying you, then you really need a seat to travel comfortably.

We all have to practise offering the seat to somebody else if you see a person who really in need of it. There are some situations that a few mothers carry their children who are able to walk and travel well standing.

One day when I was travelling in a bus a family (mother, father and the child) got into the bus.

The child was about 8 years old. The father was carrying the child and nobody offered a seat as it was clearly seen that this child could stand and travel.

Then the child asked his father loudly “Father you said somebody will offer a seat. But nobody has done it so far”.

Then the father was very ashamed and all looked at each others. There are situations that sometimes mothers ask the child to sit and mother keeps standing in the buses/trains. There are two disadvantages in this:

1. The child will get used to sit while the parents are standing. It’s a bad habit to be allowed to practise.

2. Asking your child to sit will automatically make him/her to lose his/her confidence. You should convince your child that he/she is strong enough and not a weak person to run for a seat and sit.

There is another thing I would like to remind the mothers who carry children and get into the buses in the office crowd, up and down travelling times or into long distance travelling buses. Please try to avoid these times when you plan to travel unless it is really urgent.

The passengers in the above said buses are put into difficulties when you try to travel in those public transport services.

Office people are really tired after work or in the long distance travelling buses, people get seats with a great difficulty as they can’t stand and travel long hours. So, try to avoid these times.

SITA NAMARATNE
via email

Right to die

I am wondering why AJN is worry about suicide? (Reference DN May 18) Human life is a sad and worry unit of its beginning to the end. There is no reason to seek others’ permission for one to end the sufferings of one’s body.

You have rightly understood that we should not disturb others for our sufferings more than they can take. At the end they also have to go through the same sufferings as all others.

Until you can live with happiness it’s worth to live. That’s if our body can permit us.

SAM PERERA
via email

Logo displaying on Government vehicles

The majority of the Government owned vehicles are used for unofficial work because the relevant Logos (Government and institution) and the name of the Institution are not properly displayed on those vehicles.

Therefore, users can easily misuse the Government owned vehicles using Government fuel and money.

Sometimes fuel costs and vehicle maintenance costs would be unbearable costs to the institutions. Also, when fuel costs are concern, it is a drain of foreign exchange reserves of the country.

As a controlling method to minimise the misusing State owned vehicles and to save Taxpayers’ money for development purpose of the country, the authorities of the Government must instruct to the heads of government institutions to display both logos (Government and institution) very clearly on all Government owned vehicles.

If this rule becomes effective, some Government officers would give various reasons against to the logo displaying on vehicles provided to them since they are the officers who highly misuse the Government owned vehicles.

YASAPALA PONNAMPERUMA
Panadura

Oogling and Tourist Police

Suranganie Fernando, who wrote to the Editor (DN April 17) under the caption ‘Selling paradise isle dream’ and drew attention of the Chairman Tourist Board, Renton de Alwis, about Oogling at females by male population inside Sri Lankan resorts, which she highlighted as “quite offensive, unsettling and threatening,” can at least be happy now that her valiant point through the Daily News has gained good ground.

It is evident that her suggestion has gone via the Chairman of the Tourist Board to the heights that matter and consequently the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Defence have taken swift and remedial action to re-establish the New Tourist Police Division under the theme ‘Prevent, protect and delight’.

The initial establishment of a Tourist Police in Sri Lanka was the brainchild of the late President R. Premadasa during his tenure as Prime Minister at a time when whole flood of foreign tourists swamped the golden beaches of down South of Sri Lanka.

It was a phase when female, white, shapely bodies started sunbathing in the nude inside star hotel compounds and walked in G-string bikinis along the Galle Road, particularly in the Hikkaduwa area, while the odd white male muscular pieces of humanity started to scout for boys for sexual pleasure, which in turn enticed the some of the young and local folks’ eyes and turned the whole act into a pied piper scenario.

With the passage of time, the Tourist Police activities seemed to have subsided for unknown reasons.

However, the latest move by the Minister of Tourism and Minister of Defence is highly commendable and certainly a step in the right direction not only to safeguard foreign tourists from unacceptable behaviour by the local men folk, but equally to preserve Sri Lankan values by ensuring that ‘white’ men and women tourists are not allowed to behave reprehensively or expose themselves indecently, for a few foreign exchange they bring to the country, which would affect our centuries old cultural and traditional values drastically.

DR. TILAK S. FERNANDO

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