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Katubedda - divided between Moratuwa and Mt. Lavinia

The electoral district of Moratuwa and its municipal limits start near the headquarters of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board along the Galle Road.

The following matters will therefore have to be highlighted for corrective action by the Western Provincial Council and the Department of Local Government and Public Administration.

Lady Catherine Model Town which is at Katubedda, Moratuwa carries as its address Lady Catherine Model Town, Ratmalana.

This has resulted in the letters having this address first getting sorted to the Mt. Lavinia Post Office before they are delivered, causing unnecessary labour and an additional day for delivery.

Residents in its environs in order to get a building plan approved have to go to the Moratuwa Municipality where their rates and taxes are paid. If they need the services of the police, they came under the purview of the Mt. Lavinia police housed in Ratmalana, which is a different electorate serviced by the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council.

The Ceylon German Technical Training School situated along the Galle Road, Katubedda has its address in the telephone directory as Galle Road Mt. Lavinia which is absurd.

Even its affairs are divided between the Postal and Municipal services of Moratuwa and Mt. Lavinia.

Ironically, institutions on the opposite side of the Galle Road, the Industrial Development Board and the Colombo South Transport Board have Moratuwa addresses and their affairs are within the purview of the Moratuwa Post Office and Police.

Even though there are District and Magistrate Courts in Moratuwa, actions initiated by the Mt. Lavinia police will therefore be handled by the District and Magistrate Courts of Mt. Lavinia.

However the Divisional Secretariat of Moratuwa handles all related matters of the entire electoral district and all telephones in the Katubedda area are prefixed with the Moratuwa dialing code 264.

Before the situation gets more chaotic, it is up to the authorities concerned to do away with any age old demarcations and take corrective action before we experience any disputes akin to those in Jammu/Kashmir.

It is hoped that sanity will prevail and that all administrative affairs of Katubedda will be brought within the Moratuwa electoral district.

MERRIL T. M. DE SILVA
Moratuwa

Have you heard of Yerevan zoo?

Well I hadn’t, till a few days ago when this came up in the press and the electronic media.

This is a zoo in Armenia where one of our cherished possessions, a nine year old female elephant -Asokamala - from the Pinnawala orphanage is to be sent in the near future. I was curious about this zoo after I read about it in the press.

The internet came to my rescue and this is what an Armenian himself by the name Christian Garbis had to say in 2005 after visiting this zoo.

“When we entered I did not expect the dismay that I witnessed. The zoo, which is Government controlled, is run down and the poor animals are not living well at all.

We first went to see the bears and what I saw was upsetting but not as shocking as what I would see later. The zoo has three bears that are not in bad shape, but the ground of the area in which they reside was almost completely covered by their own excrement.

“There were few clean places for them to sit and as a result their fur was a bit soiled. The water that was provided for them to swim in - which was clean compared to other areas of the zoo - was littered with plastic bags and popcorn.

“Many of the animals were clearly sick and malnourished. The ostriches totally ignored the large tub of rotten apples and bits of bread given them to eat. The foxes in their pens were thirsty, pacing back and forth or curled up in a corner. We saw no water laid for them, although a slab of rotten meat had been thrown into one of the pens that had been ignored.

“One thing I noticed that really disturbed me is that almost all the animals stand and sleep on concrete or asphalt, which are in turn covered in their own feces.

There is no grass or anything organic for that matter for the ostriches or other birds to walk on. And one area that contained swans had only a small pool of standing water about ten feet long and three feet wide for them to swim in, which was completely filthy with green muck and litter, as were all the water pools in the zoo.

There are even two hippopotamuses who do not dare venture into their own swimming place, also very small, as it is unfit for bathing. Both were baking in the sun, and I don’t understand how they survive with no fresh water.

“I also noticed that several trees have been cut throughout the zoo, so now there is virtually no shade for many of the animals that need it. Some of the slopes that line the zoo boundaries have been completely voided of their greenery, so now there is only sand and rocks. Many of the animals are clearly not being cared for at all.

The llamas have dirty, matted coats that need to be tended to, and the one seemingly confused elephant, which for some reason has a chain winding around its front right foot, is covered in dust and dirt.

“I asked the guy ripping tickets at the gate why the animals are living so miserably, whereby he responded, “People are living miserably too. Didn’t you know that?” I don’t know what kind of an answer that is, seeing that animals in captivity are wholly dependent on the human caretakers to provide for them.

But I know that his peculiar mentality, undoubtedly shared by nearly everyone working in that zoo from what I saw of the place, is not going to turn around.

Since the zoo is Government controlled and it can obviously not properly fund the zoo (admission is a mere 150 dram or about 35 cents) for whatever reason, it must be either shut down or privatised.

It is unfair to these defenceless animals that they be subjected to such disastrous conditions. And I don’t know why the local representative of the World Wildlife Foundation doesn’t do anything about what’s happening - it makes no sense at all.

“Ariga mentioned to me today that when it comes to animals, Armenians are only good at raising their slaughtering pigs and sheep. In a country where driving over dogs is considered a sport, I don’t expect that cruelty towards animals en masse will ever be overcome here.

Just by the way I have seen horses and other farm animals being cared for in villages, I know that there needs to be widespread education about animal protection in this country, but I have no idea what children are being taught regarding that.”

This clearly shows what this zoo is like. Is our ‘Asokamala’ going to be sent to this hell hole? Don’t our authorities have an iota of love for these defenceless animals? For whose benefit is this going to be done? I think the general public would want answers to these questions.

The Minister had said that he had got the approval of the Cabinet for this. This is even before knowing the ground situation of this zoo. I guess this is typical Sri Lankan style.

Our neighbouring India has totally banned the export of elephants from their country a couple of years ago, due to extreme public protests, when it was revealed that two elephants have died mysteriously in this same zoo.

Are we prepared to take this cue from India?

Dr. A. N. Dharmawansa

Ban loudspeakers

As a resident of Koralawella, Moratuwa, who has to put up with the indiscriminate use of loudspeakers at all hours of the day and regularly at around 4.30 a.m. I will be profoundly grateful to any Government who completely bans the use of loudspeakers in the open.

I am not sure why this public menace continues unabated. It is a sad reflection on our society which has no respect for the comfort of others and the law. Nuisance values have no place in religion.

Continued exposure to these loudspeakers is a sure path to deafness. The only way in which to avoid these loud noises is to completely insulate oneself, which means air conditioning, which is expensive, not available to all and environmentally damaging. If our neighbouring countries have had the courage to ban the use of loudspeakers why cannot we?

May I exhort the Government to take immediate measures to afford the general public relief by banning such noise levels and removing these offensive and damaging pieces of equipment from our society.

D. M. Balasuriya
Colombo 10

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