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DateLine Wednesday, 17 October 2007

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Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

A timely deterrent

The University authorities have at last woken to the reality that an effective deterrent is necessary to rein in lawlessness in the country's highest seats of learning.

Following the episode at the Peradeniya campus where a group of students forcibly blocked the portrait of founder Sir Ivor Jennings being unveiled, which resulted in the temporary closure of the University, legal action is being contemplated by the authorities against the miscreants.

If that is the case this will be the first time that a local University had deigned to take the offenders head on which augers well for the future of our Universities which have contrary to being fountains of learning have turned out to be the bedrock of anarchy and decadence over the years.

There has to be a time when someone stands up and says enough is enough and we hope that the University at Peradeniya would prove a catalyst in the flushing out of the dross and dregs that have laid seige to our institutions of higher learning holding the country's future generation to ransom.

Today our universities project all that is wrong in our society that is sweeping with lawlessness and acts of impunity. It has become a microcosm of the indiscipline and intolerance that we witness in our midst.

Instead of being repositories of exemplary formation what we have been seeing over the years is blatant hooliganism by rival student factions.

True, University life anywhere throbs with political ferment and a clash of idealogies is only natural. But what we have been witnessing over the years is brawn overtaking brain resulting in student deaths on many an occasion.

One need not dwell deep into the acts of inhuman ragging and other violence that have affected our universities over the years and put paid to the future of many a promising student.

The depredations in campuses sometimes bordering on the sick have prompted many to shun university education and opt for overseas study. It is anyone's guess the wealth of talent the country may have lost as result of this exodus. There is no gainsaying that the Universities have been used by certain political elements to further their agendas and sow unrest.

It has provided a haven for those intent on giving voice to long discarded political shibboleths and making life miserable for other students. Among these elements are also those who harbour grouses against society and suffer from inferior complexes and give vent to their frustrations.

Their actions have caused our universities to be shunned like the plague by parents who instead seek other options for their children negating the vast resources spent by the State to foster higher education.

The Government should ensure that the law takes its course to bring the offenders to justice. The firm action against these desperados we hope would send a message to all would be saboteurs that the authorities mean business.

Let this be a beginning that will stem the rot in our universities once and for all enabling our youth to pursue their higher education in a secure environment.

Remembering July '80 strikers

The Government's decision to offer employment to some of the July'80 strikers in State institutions is a most timely move. All previous regimes have offered patchwork solutions to deal with this most vexed humanitarian problem that has been simmering for over two and half decades.

True, no amount of relief can compensate for the trauma undergone by these strikers. There were even instances where some of them committed suicide while tales of broken marriages and dislocation abounded during this time. The strikers were not only blue collar workers. There were also stories of men of calibre selling fruits on pavements after being driven to destitution.

The strikers were demanding a wage hike of Rs. 10 which the Government adamantly refused. Instead they were set upon by bicycle chain wielding goons who were unleashed by the powers that be.

Although the crushing of the strike encouraged foreign investments in the country due to the Governments firm hand in dealing with labour unrest it caused a massive humanitarian upheaval that was to haunt all successive Government's and became an election issue.

There is no knowing what other impact this caused on the dependents of these unfortunate men and women and if some of them were driven to crime and other vices.

Be that as it may the Government should try to ascertain the full impact of this strike action and take other measures to compensate these strikers who have had to endure much trauma and deprivation for over two decades.

Sri Lanka's road map for poverty eradication

While we mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty today, it is worthwhile dwelling on the measures taken to address the question of poverty in Sri Lanka and the means adopted to extricate the poor from the poverty trap. Programmes focused on the eradication of poverty have been in the agenda of all the successive Governments since independence. But they have not been able to bring about a substantial reduction in poverty among the poor.

Full Story

Sounds pleasing, sounds threatening

The issue of sound pollution, hitherto unnoticed or ignored by most Sri Lankans, has carved a niche in public debate of late, with the Central Environmental Authority drawing up regulations to control community noise pollution. With the final version of the draft law scheduled to be submitted to the Supreme Court in November, diverging views are expressed regarding what has been declared as the main objective of the regulations: controlling public address through loudspeakers.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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