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The way forward

It is appropriate to see how the Sri Lankan politicians ruled this country since we gained Independence in 1948. We had a very great history during the reins of the ancient Kings. Ours was an agricultural economy with self-sufficiency in food with tank irrigated and rain fed agricultural systems in place.

Rural villages were located surrounding the village tanks, temples, dagabas and schools. People in the villages went to the village priest or school master for any advice and led a very peaceful and independent life as a community.

When the British invaded Sri Lanka all these ancient civilisations was destroyed and they started plantation agriculture by uprooting traditional crops grown in these areas neglecting irrigated and rain fed agriculture in the dry zone.

Thereafter people started migrating to the wet zone areas of the country and settled down there and had to lead a completely different life.

Britishers brought down cheap labour from India giving minimum of facilities to develop plantation agriculture, mostly tea.

Once the agricultural economy was destroyed, they imported food items such as wheat flour and got our people into the habit of eating flour base food, like bread etc.

It is unfortunate that even now we are not able to transform this to rice flour base food, instead of importing wheat flour which drains our foreign exchange.

Although this country has natural resources, educated people and manpower, it has not been possible to bring this country to a developed state compared to other Asian countries.

It is true that successive Governments who ruled this country after Independence have undertaken various development projects and infrastructure facilities, which are their responsibilities to do so as rulers, but the majority of people in this country, especially the rural population is not able to lead a comfortable life.

We have to appreciate the fact that when Britishers handed over the administration to us after independence, they developed the plantation agriculture bringing in foreign exchange to the country and also other infrastructure facilities including administrative structures and enactments of legal systems which holds good even now.

We need to asses the present situation of our country. It is six decades since our Independence from the British, yet we have gone backwards in terms of development and the general prosperity of the country when compared other South Asian countries.

Therefore all political parties who ruled this country should be responsible for the present situation. Here we should question whether politicians who have come forward to serve the country have committed themselves for the task entrusted to them over the years.

However, is to be appreciated the fact that the present President has taken positive steps to eradicate ‘terrorism’ which has cost the country immensely in every aspect.

We also should be happy that he has been able to liberate the Eastern province and is all out to regain the Northern province now.

In the meantime, it is necessary to offer a reasonable solution to the ethnic problem, to gain the confidence of all ethnic groups of the country.

The media should act independently to pressurise and direct the Governing party to take the correct path in developing the country to give a better quality of life to all Sri Lankans.

ASOKA NAVARATNE -
USA


Bus fare increase and sweeping changes

It is reported that the National Transport commission has approved another bus fare hike from next month. The minimum bus fare is to be increased to rupees six. Nobody is aware on what basis the National Transport Commission has formulated bus fare increase.

When bus fares were increased last time certain sectors increased the rates by 47 per cent when it was 28 per cent in other sectors. This was pointed out by a Daily News reader on August 17, 2007. Revised bus fares were exploited by the bus conductors according to T. J. Victor Silva in the Daily News of August 10, 2007.

Last time along with fare increases the National Transport Commission promised to introduce sweeping changes to improve the transport system. We are yet to see these ‘sweeping changes’.

More than promised changes the National Transport Commission never respond to attend to a serious matter reported related to private bus operators. Thanks to the National Transport Commission, harassed commuters have to face another upward revision of bus fares with the same shoddy service.

The change of rupees five sector to rupees six is going to cause much hardship to the majority of commuters, especially, schoolchildren who were promised free bus transport. It is going to help some private bus conductors to cheat the commuters.

Even now when you tender a 10 rupee note, they avoid to give the balance unless you remind him several times before you get off or you will have to forget about the balance. That is why once a Transport Minister said he will never allow to increase the Rs. five sector to six.

It is clearly evident for whose benefit the National Transport Commission is conducting its services. They have miserably failed to get private bus operators to issue tickets.

It is high time the Minister of Transport looks into the composition of the National Transport Commission.

For the benefit of the public, can the Minister of Transport enlighten the exact reasons why the National Transport Commission is so hasty to bring another bus fare hike within this short period?

H. M. TISSERA –
Kandana


Pot-holed Colombage Mawatha

Colombage Mawatha is a most important street connecting Nawala Road to Vijaya Kumaratunga Mawatha and then to the Elvitigala highway and Park Road.

Motorists coming from Pagoda/Nugegoda area use this regularly to avoid having to go a longer distance to Narahenpia to turn off. I understand that the responsibility for the maintenance of these roads falls both on the Kotte and Nugegoda Urban Councils.

The pathetic state of this road was brought to the notice of both Urban Councils over a year ago and some repairs were effected.

However, after the heavy rains experienced recently, some patch-up work had been done up to the bridge midway, but not from the Nawala Road end.

This has also now eroded and there is no way one can travel without falling into at least 15 to 20 pot-holes, even after avoiding the majority of craters.

No doubt these authorities would have received several complaints regarding this road from motorists who suffer extensive wear and tear damage to their vehicles as a result - but these have possibly fallen on deaf ears.

This is written in the hope that those concerned in the relevant councils will sit up, take some notice and effect the repairs in a proper manner without temporary patch work, as a matter of urgency.

A REGULAR SUFFERER

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