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Saturday, 19 September 2009

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Gutters and dengue

I used to have considerable problems with my gutters with leaves and other materials blocking the flow of water and thereby breeding mosquitoes.

A few years ago I removed all my gutters except one above the entrance to my house. I have had no problems since then.

I hope the relevant authorities look into this and request all buildings to have the gutters removed. Actually when one looks at the need for gutters, really you can't find a reason. The gardens could have a layer of rubble, so that the water falling from the roof does not make any dents in the lawn.

I understand that in Singapore this is practiced. It will also bring down the cost of construction and maintenance.


Nugegoda NSB building and its accessibility

The Nugegoda NSB building constructed at the summit of a hill could be classified as a monstrocity as far as its accessibility to public who are by necessity have to visit same in view of it being a National Bank to transact the banking activities.

The priority consideration of the planners of a public building should be its friendly accessibility and this has to be emphatically so with regard to a National Bank where its very sustenance is the patronage of the public of all age groups, young and aged, not to mention the disabled.

The planners of the NSB building, Nugegoda seem to have had no such foresight or a vision by selecting such an inhospitable location.

Here the public has first to climb a hillock as a primary exercise and then again to ascend a formidable flight of steps to access the transacting counters.

One can imagine what an arduous exercise this journey is to the public and specially to the aged and not so aged but still disabled by rheumatic and other age-related disorders. The process of ascending and descending the hillock is a frightening experience in inclement weather when the ground is wet and slippery with not even a set of railing installed for protection and support.

In this connection I would like to call the attention of the NSB authorities to the Provisions of the Disabilities Act where it has made it clear for the Government Institutions to provide friendly accessibility of their institutions to the general public.

In this respect the NSB building has woefully given no heed to this fundamental requirement regarding its location and transaction areas and it is time that the Nugegoda NSB is relocated in new location which is customer and disabled friendly at an early date.


Why abolish executive Presidency?

There is a demand from some political parties to abolish the executive powers of Presidency of Sri Lanka. It is a major slogan of a certain political party. Executive powers were vested to the President of Sri Lanka by the Constitution of 1978 after 1977 then Government came to power by the majority of Parliament. Before 1978, there were Presidents without executive powers under the 1972 Constitution. Executive Presidents ruled this country from 1978 and it has only 30 years history with five executive Presidents. After gaining the independence, Sri Lanka had Democratic Parliament system powers vested to the Cabinet and Parliament.

Sri Lanka has a long history of kinship with executive powers. From King Wijaya to King Sri Wickramarajasinge, 108 Kings ruled this island with executive powers over 20 centuries period. Portuguese and Dutch nations ruled the coastal belt of the island from 1505 up to 1800. British nations captured the power of the coastal line from Dutch in 1796 and became rulers of whole island in 1815. The Brish Colonial rulers administered the country until independence is granted in 1948 with executive powers vested them by the British Government.

The point is that over the 2500 years, Sri Lanka was ruled by kings, governors, presidents with executive powers except 1948 - 1978 period. On the recommendation of the Soulbury Commission in 1947, Sri Lanka was granted an independence with the establishment of Democratic Government with Parliament and Senate. Sri Lanka became an independent country in 1948. Under the Constitution of Ceylon executive powers had been vested to the Parliament and Cabinet.

The new Constitution was passed in 1978 and established a new post as the President of Sri Lanka instead of the governor as representative of the Queen of British Emperor without executive powers. The Government came to power in 1977 with the large majority of Parliament seats, passed the bill to amend the Constitution and new Constitution was enforced with the Executive President. Five Executive Presidents ruled this country during the past thirty years period after 1978. The post of Executive President was created by the people of this country with their majority votes empowered to the Government.

The ordinary people of this country want to live with peace and harmony. The Government's responsibility is to provide the security, peace and welfare to the nation. Whatever Government Socialist, or Democratic or any other Government must look after the nation and to provide welfare facilities to the people to live happily and to develop the country to achieve economic progress. Most of people of the country are not concerned about the executive powers of Presidency and they want to live in peace and harmony.


Bank of Ceylon

I write with reference to the letter under the heading 'Bank of Ceylon' by Bodhinayake of Dehiwala (DN Aug. 30), praising the People's Bank for calling applications worldwide to fill the Post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bank. He also suggests that the more sophisticated and better-known Bank of Ceylon with a global presence should follow suit.

The Bank of Ceylon which was established in 1939 was initially managed by veteran British bankers like J.H. Mortlock and A.T. Hunter in the mid forties and early fifties. Subsequently, the unforgettable Sri Lankan Banker Chelliah Loganathan took over as the first Sri Lankan General Manager of the Bank of Ceylon and held that position from 1953 to 1969 making the bank grow from strength to strength.

During his period he selected and recruited staff to both officer and clerical grades who manage the bank even today at the highest levels as members of the Executive and Corporate management including the present General Manager.

The Bank of Ceylon's recent rating within the first one thousand top banks in the world is ample proof of their capacity to manage this prestigious State owned bank which has won the nations' trust for many more years to come.

The first Sri Lankan General Manager of the Bank Loganathan was succeeded by Sydney Sirimanne in 1970 and thereafter by exemplary bankers like Mohamed Moheed, Lyn Wickremasinghe, Christopher Anthonisz, L. Piyadasa, Robin Talwatte, Rohini Nanayakkara and Savithri Jayasinghe - all who rose to the prestigious position of General Manager from within the bank itself.

It is therefore, my humble view contrary to Bodhinayake's that the Bank of Ceylon could well find its CEO from within as it was hitherto done without shopping around the world, like the People's Bank which of course is nearly 22 years the Bank of Ceylon's junior whose first General Manager was non other than W.H. Solomons - a one time Chief Inspector of Branches of the Bank of Ceylon.


Hassle at Passport Office

I recently happened to visit the Department of Immigration and Emigration to get my passport renewed. After paying the due sum of Rs. 1,000, I was told to collect the renewed passport after two hours. Having patiently waited for two hours I tried to approach the issuing counter to collect my passport.

The real hassle was there with at least one hundred persons crowding the small counter. Some employees called out the numbers, but were hardly audible, drowned by the din.

An elderly person like me could not even attempt to reach the counter. Authorities should make an attempt to issue the revised/renewed passports in an orderly manner. This could be done by installing a TV monitor where numbers would be displayed.

Finally, after 2 hrs and 15 minutes, I approached the Deputy Controller who on checking found that my passport was not ready. He was kind enough to send an employee personally into the relevant section who collected my passport within five minutes.

I don't understand why a simple matter like renewal should take such a long time.

This Department brings in a substantial income to the Government coffers, so it is the duty of all concerned to facilitate matters regarding the issue, renewal and changes in passports so that the public would receive a better service in this computerized age.


Adults Only films taboo for teenagers

I refer to above titled letter by S.S.B. Subramaniam (August 29) whatever he has said in his letter is quite relevant and important as far as the boys and girls under the age of 18 years are concerned. Teenagers include the boys and girls who belong to the age group of 19 years too. In such cases, those who are 18 years and above are considered to be adults in a legal sense since they are eligible to exercise voting rights.

Therefore, Subramaniam's use of the term, 'teenagers' needs an explanation of the age group. He could have used the phrase 'school going children' to limit the use of 'taboo' of Adults Only Films.

However, I would like to add some of my practicable suggestions to be considered by Education Minister Susil Premajayanth who has ruled that teenagers should not watch Adults Only films. I think the Minister may have limited his prohibitive rule to those who are below the age of 18, since those who are of 18 years and above are legally treated as adults.

In my view, may I verify from the Education Minister whether the Government has made any legislation to control Internet Cafes open to all adults or youngsters, schoolchildren who are addicted to use of Internet services - obscene plays - blue films. The owner of the Internet Cafe does not prevent anyone from using the Internet facilities - whether adult only films or another immorally corrupting websites.

It is high time that the Government brings all the Internet Cafes under their control and cancel the licences, if the schoolchildren are allowed to use these cafes to watch pornographic films etc.

Just as Tourism Development Minister Faizer Musthafa suddenly inspected a squalid tourist hotel and cancelled the licence forthwith, the Education Minister himself should make a surprise inspection of Internet Cafes and theatres to check whether the schoolchildren are allowed to watch Adults Only films or blue films.

Another relevant point to bring to the notice of the Education Minister is that the commercial advertisements depicting half naked beauties exciting the feeling of adults and non-adults.

What drastic action can the Government take to check the commercial advertisers who corrupt the public with an obscene way of advertising. The same case is in the TV advertisement too.

The posters found in front of business enterprises have nude pictures of females. Cinemas have semi nude pictures displayed to attract the youngsters too.


Rest house for pensioners at Nuwara Eliya

An amount of Rs. 50 has been deducted from both the civil and widows pensioners for the month of January 2009 without the prior consent of the pensioners.

Pensioners do not know the reason as to why this deduction has been made, if not for the small pamphlet which has been sent in sagaciousness pattern to be delivered to the pensioners when they call over at the particular post offices to draw their pensions. But those who draw their pensions through banks do not know even that as this information has not been given to the banks concerned. The pamphlet states that a sum of Rs. 50 has been deducted as a collection to be put up a rest house at Nuwara Eliya for the benefit of the pensioners.

I think that the Commissioner may be under the impression that the pensioners' do not have any other responsibilities other than taking rest at Nuwara Eliya.

I feel very sorry for the Commissioner about the ignorance that he does not know how the pensioners exist for a full month with their poor pensions.

Most of the pensioners live, because, that they know 'the suicide is also an offence.'

The life of a pensioner can be very difficult unless he or she has a source of private income. Though the Commissioner thinks that Rs. 50 is just like a cent for him it is worth more than Rs. 5,000 for a poor pensioner.

Further it is an injustice to deduct even a single cent, not only from a pensioner but even from a present employee without their prior consent.

 

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