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Government Gazette

The need for vigilance

The acute sense of danger and the timely intervention on the part of an alert passenger that saved the lives of a hoard of commuters aboard a private bus on Saturday at Mt. Lavinia brings into sharp focus the need for eternal vigilance on the part of the public at a time terror stalks every nook and corner in the City.

The Government has aptly chosen to reward this commendable act which averted what would been a carnage of massive proportions.

A heightened sense of civic responsibility would go a long way in helping thwart the designs of the barbaric LTTE which is now on the run in the wake of the determined thrust the Security Forces in the Tiger heartland.

All newspapers yesterday carried banner headlines of the episode where the timely intervention of the passenger, acting on a hunch, informed the conductor of a suspicious looking parcel in the bus which prompted an immediate evacuation of the passengers minutes before the explosion.

Going by the pictures of the smouldering wreckage of the bus that was shown on TV it is a certainty that all the passengers would have been consigned to a horrible death.

It is in this context that this singular act which would have plunged many a family into heart rending grief and mourning not to mention the fear psychosis engendered in the public at large, should be viewed and appreciated.

The passenger concerned should not only be materially rewarded for this act but also made a shining example for the public to emulate by even conferring a civilian honour reserved for acts of bravery.

Meanwhile steps should be taken to maximise security in public transport in the wake of the emerging threat to target buses and trains where the terrorist could cause the most damage.

Bus crews should be instructed to check all parcels and baggage of commuters boarding buses and be on constant alert throughout the journey for suspicious passengers and movements.

There is a current directive issued to all bus crew that there should be no parcels allowed to be left on overhead racks but apparently this is not always followed.

The Government should intensify its public awareness campaign on the existing dangers and extend this to schools and all sectors so that a wider network could be formed to avert disasters.

A system should also be devised enabling more direct links between the Security Forces and the public considering that speed is of the essence in averting diasters of the nature.

This would also help cement better understanding and foster liaisons that would help in extra public vigilance and surveillance that would help abort designs of the terrorists as borne out by Saturday’s episode.


Saving power

A cross section of the public interviewed by our Weekend Paper “Sunday Observer” was up in arms against any further attempts to increase electricity tariffs and justifiably so.

An electricity hike is bound to create a ripple effect in the market place as much as oil prices which would, in turn place additional burdens on the public vis-a-vis the cost of living.

Here the Government is in a dilemma. While on the one subsidising the CEB which is in the red it also has to depend on fuel driven electricity for 65 per cent of its power generation at a time a barrel of crude oil has hit the 100 Dollar mark in the world market.

Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne had resisted many calls for an electricity tariff hike in the recent past.

He says the Government had no intention to effect an unconscionable increase in the electricity tariff and that any adjustment would be done without imposing additional burdens on the consumer.

While the Minister’s sentiments in this regard are most welcome we should at the same time pay more attention towards conservation. In this respect many Government institutions appear to be the worst offenders.

One has only to witness the unwanted illuminations in State buildings and the number of municipal electricity lamps switched on well into daytime to get but a glimpse of the problem.

The Government should also take cognizance of any proposed power hikes on the industrial sector for the high electricity is one of the factors keeping away most investors from our shores.

While the public may be justly aggrieved by the increase in the electricity rate bills they too contribute to the crisis by their indifferent attitudes towards conservation.

How many people leave lightbulbs on in empty rooms, just to give one example ? Simple power saving measures can protect consumers’ wallets as well as save foreign exchange.

‘Mulberry Boys’ in the Mulberry Bush

We have read tales and viewed the tele drama series of R.K. Narayan’s popular “Malgudi Days”. Those tales and episodes kept the kids and children enthraled with the creativity of Narayan. But, today we unfold the story of a group of young politicians and parliamentarians in the ruling party of the Diyawanna-Oya, a decade ago who formed a ginger group within the Government and named it the “Mulberry Group”.

Full Story

There is something of the dawn about him

One of the biggest international stories so far this year has been the rise and rise of Barack Obama. Its twin is the collapse of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. She now has the unmistakable air of a loser as the aura of inevitability and the mystique of invincibility give way to a scramble for relevance. Perhaps she is learning the meaning of the audacity of hope.

Full Story

NATO’s Kosovo Colony

Across this last weekend, the Western propaganda machine was working overtime, celebrating the latest NATO miracle: the transformation of Serbian Kosovo into Albanian Kosova.

Full Story

 

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