Daily News Online

DateLine Thursday, 10 July 2008

News Bar »

    News: Lanka-India to ink CEPA  ...            Political: New Housing Development Minister ...           Business: Condominium developer in legal jaws ...            Sports: Controversial Taj TV deal cancelled ...






Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

OPA at your service

Science and Technology in Sri Lanka

Continued from last week

(iii) Collective decision of Boards must await approval of a single ministry official, the Secretary more significantly, the Ministry sometimes overrides unanimous collective Board decisions on personnel management matters without even discussion with the Boards or seeking clarification from them.

This is because political influences allow personal considerations to supersede the public interest and benefit. There is a total absence of transparency, and no recognition of the importance of dialogue in settling problems.

(iv) Boards of management carry the responsibility and authority for the proper management (including staff appointments) of their institutes with integrity and due regard to ethical standards and fundamental human rights.

It is the Boards, and not the Ministries, which are liable to face litigation if they act incorrect. Boards tend to follow ministry instructions, even if they consider the instructions to be logically, technically, ethically and legally wrong.

The reasons for this are the two insidious and iniquitous provisions in the Statutory Acts enabling the Minister to -

(a) Give specific instructions to the Board, and (b) dismiss any Board Member, and Chairman without assigning any reasons. It should be mentioned that in the last 15 years five senior scientists, members of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka, have been were summarily dismissed from the Boards of Statutory Scientific Institutions.

Three were presidents of both the NASSL and SLAAS and Chairmen of their respective boards and two were members of the Council of the NASSL.

Recently a senior scientist who was a director of a statutory scientific institute was dismissed for vacation of post and held on remand on his return from a very fruitful official visit abroad because he had not obtained the ministry’s approval for the travel which had been approved by the Board. Although he was subsequently reinstated by the President he resigned because of the indignity he had been subjected to.

(v) Such ad-hoc and mala-fide decisions may be successfully contested under Fundamental Rights actions in a court of law as illustrated by the landmark judgement (in 2001) by the Supreme Court on a Fundamental Rights petition successfully filed by a senior scientist against his arbitrary dismissal by the Minister without assigning. Despite the judgement, no action has been taken yet to delete those insidious and iniquitous provisions in Statutory Acts.

(vi) How can senior scientists in managerial positions guide and set an example to younger scientists on the importance of ensuring human rights, human dignity, ethical conduct and integrity when they themselves may succumb to committing improper and unethical actions by being ‘yes men’ to their superiors in order to keep their jobs through fear of those insidious and iniquitous provisions in S&T Acts referred to above.

How can young scientists be expected to develop an inquiring mind and openly discuss with their superiors any doubts they may have on scientific theories and practices of their seniors? (To be continued next week)

Questions and Answers

How to obtain Patent Rights for handicrafts

Question: My cousin in Kandy makes mirrors and other household items studded with Sri Lankan Spices which is unique to Sri Lanka. When I saw these items I asked him why he does not advertise on the Web with pictures, then he said he wants to do it after he obtains Patent Rights or else will be copied by others.

Would appreciate if you could kindly advise me on the following

A. Should the finished goods be shown?

B. If so where

C. Would Photographs of the finished goods be accepted?

D. Any amount to be paid for obtaining the Patent Rights

E. Time duration to obtain.

F. Any other requirements.

- Mohamed Ramzeel ramzeel@yahoo.com

Answer: Patent Rights, Intellectual Property Protection etc. are now handled by “The National Intellectual Property Office” situated at No. 400, D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo 10 on the 3rd floor of Samagam Medura. You can call over or write to them and request for an application from.

In the Intellectual Property, categories yours come under “Design” as a subject dealt with by a separate section. In the forms you can sketch your design. Photographs may be also helpful but no need for the goods to be shown.

They will publish in the Newspaper the particular design to see if there are any objections from others who may have this same design After which they will register you design provided, there are no objections. You have to pay a very nominal amount and the process could take about six months.

Conducting business enterprise in residential area

Question: I am a resident of Evergreen Park (off Dabare Mawatha) Colombo 5, which has been classified by the UDA as “Primarily a residential area”. Notwithstanding this my immediate neighbour has commenced a stationery business in his garage.

From the early hours of the morning till late at night, we are subject to a great deal of noise and inconvenience because of the business, as the place is a live of activity. (Workers making a huge din, trishaws constantly going to/from etc).

They also park their vehicles outside our premises, thereby blocking our entrance/exit. I have gone out of my way to be neighbourly and spoken to them-but to no avail.

I have also written to the UDA and he Police, but no action has ben taken. I have an elderly mother who is not in the best of health and she finds it difficult to get even a few hours of sleep, with all that going on.

For your information, our road is a private road 18 feet in width, and each resident has tarred the road in front of his premises, Please advise me as to what I should do as I am at my wit’s end.

- W.M. Pereira-Colombo 5

Answer: The UDA claims to have delegated the planning and enforcement power to the respective Municipal Councils. Therefore you have to make a written complaint to the Director City Planning of the Colombo Municipal Council. If the Director City planning does not take any action, then you can report to the UDA who will ensure that the Director-City Planning values the necessary action.

Unfortunately, there is a dispute between the UDA and the CMC as to who has the power to take action on such cases referred to as “Change of Use” that is a residential home being changed into a manufacturing or business premises. We suggest that apart from a written compliant you also meet the Director in person or the Commissioner.

About the Internet Service

Question: With advancement of Science and Technology an Internet service has been created. As a perfect ignorant of this subject I would be glad if you enlighten me on the operation of this technology or technique.

1. Who or what country initiated this project

2. How is it operated? How does it absorb all the data to its spectrum?

3. Does the Websites that are opened now and then provide or feed it with all date or particulars pertaining to it?

4. How does it operate? i.e Radio waves or Radar equipment etc?

5. I find for every Project a Website is opened with a numerology or code. It benefits only the consumers with computer equipment. How can others benefit from it?

- W.W. Amaratunga, Kelaniya

Answer: Whilst there are several definitions, one such is “Internet is a tool to create critical Mass of Intellectual Resource”. The Internet was started by the Americans as Advance Research Project Agency network referred to as “ARAPANET”.

When Russia (Soviet Union) launched the Sputnik in 1957, it was the American response in Advanced Research and Net working that lead to the Internet which is also referred to as the Information Superhighway Telecommunication. This is an advance form of two way visual and audio communication similar to the television which is one way communication.

The Internet works through telecommunication cable and satellite transmission and received through computers.

Websites are maintained by companies, individuals, organisations etc. who keep updating all information they wish to communicate to the public at large. They maintain it themselves or through service providers. Yes it is not everyone who can afford a computer just yet but in time to come it will be the same as TV’s and the radios available in households.

Those who do not have a computer or internet connection, can go to “Internet Cafes” which provides the facility to the public on payment.

There are several websites available if you wish to know more about internet such as www.livinginternet.com or www.computerhistory.org/internethistory

Please send in your questions

The Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA) will cover questions in all professions and subjects of common interest to the public in the ‘Daily News OPA at Your Service’ page every Thursday. Please make your question brief. Questions can be directed to the OPA on e-mail, opaorg@dynanet.lk or opa@sltnet.lk, opasrilanka@gmail.com Fax: 2559770 or write to the Professional Centre, 275/75, Prof. Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, off Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
Donate Now | defence.lk
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

| News | Editorial | Business | Features | Political | Security | Sport | World | Letters | Obituaries |

Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2008 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor