Daily News Online

Thursday, 17 March 2011






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What happened to three mahouts?

Sri Lankan elephant lovers are still waiting to know what happened to the three fiends at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage who mercilessly killed the innocent Neelagiri. Are they still continuing their fiendish acts on the helpless, captive elephants? Are the officials and the vet at the orphanage who too are responsible for this callous incident, still working regardless of Neelagiri’s gruesome death?

They have to be punished before they repeat another ‘murder’. In the name of saving innocent elephants, they are made captives in a ‘hell-hole’ like Pinnawela for the rest of their lives. Is it not better for them to die in the jungles? At least they die with dignity without being inflicted with mental and physical agony.

In the same context, I was happy to read the news item in today’s front page of your esteemed paper (23.02.11) where the Anuradhapura Additional District Judge Thilina Gamage had severely dealt with an officials of the Civil Security Department for shooting and killing a tusker who was in search of food. Very justifiably, Magistrate Gamage had imposed a fine of 500,000 rupees as well as one year’s imprisonment for killing this seven and a half year tusker with a T 56 weapon. Thanks to the police too for immediately arresting this fiend and producing him in court. If all judges are fearless and act with conscience the world will be a better place for man and beast to live in peace.

Gwen Herath

Credit card merchants flout basic rules

It was only just over three decades ago that our state owned banks commenced the credit card facility to their constituents. However the constituents of globally renowned banks and reputed financial organizations, were able to use this product for their convenience for quite some time.

At present the usage of the credit cards is very common, primarily, for their benefit of not taking the risk of carrying physical cash and secondarily for convenience in purchasing a high valued commodity. It all depends on the card holder’s option. All credit cards at the time they are handed over or taken possession of, have to be compulsorily signed on the reverse with the card holder’s usual signature on the white strip allocated.

All credit card merchants have been properly educated and instructed by the related Bank officials and those officials in the respective credit card institutions the correct manner in which to accept credit cards from clients for purchases at super markets, Sathosa outlets, SLT Regional centres and various other organisations where payments could be effected for various other services as well.

However despite educating these merchants with all the necessary advice and precautionary measures to be taken all of them totally flout the instructions by not adhering to the basic rules as instructed by the related banks/institutions. They never verify the signature the client places with that on the reverse of the card. I am aware of so many who entrust a third party to purchase their needs from a super market by giving their credit cards which are strictly non transferable.

I am an ex banker and transact almost all my dealings via my prestigious credit cards. At all places where I transact business with my credit card to date no merchant has dared to verify my signature placed on the bill with that appearing on the reverse of my card.

However there is just one exception. The teller ladies who accept our cards for payment of bills at the Regional Telecommunication office Ratmalana make a thorough scrutiny to verify the identity of the card holder before the payment is accepted.

All other credit card merchants should be educated and follow suit.

On the contrary when a genuine card holder makes an inquiry to find out the balance or any other information about his/her card over the phone several questions are posed requesting for vital information such as NIC number, billing address, last deposit made, the present credit limit, mother’s maiden name, the profession etc. After a lot of harassment only clearance for the query is answered. In the event a client fails to deposit the minimum payment on the due date reminders via telephone calls are given and the cards are kept on hold until the minimum payment is made.

It is my fervent hope that immediate precautionary action would be taken by the related bank personnel and other officials in financial institutions to advise the credit card merchants not to flout the basics, but to adherse strictly to the instructions furnished when a credit card payment is accepted and more particularly to be more lenient when inquiries are made by genuine card holders as they have to hang on to their mobile/land phones for a fairly long length of time to obtain the necessary information.

When this serious discrepancy was brought to the notice of the credit card institutions, the answer given was that the merchants have been properly educated in this regard a typical Sri Lanka answer to a grave matter of large magnitude.

Sunil Thenabadu - Mt Lavinia

Blessings to Hambantota

President, you brought blessings to Hambantota District with the strong support of D.S.De Silva

People of Hambantota District were given one of the greatest opportunities to see the Sri Lankan team in action. This was due to yours and D S De Silva’s efforts. As a former premier division player I feel the ground was superb. Anuruddha Polonowita’s hard work has brought the ground to a superb international level.

The critics of D S De Silva and Anuruddha Polonowita have to eat their own words. I have never seen such a large crowd to watch a game particularly in a rural area in Sri Lanka. This thought of our great President to dedicate this ground to the Hambantota people was one of the most valuable achievements in the sports field.

The great architectural work of Surath Wickramasinghe’s vision and the design of the stadium were classically built in the centre surrounded by the lush greenery and the mountains. Thank you Kumar Sangakkara for the great captaincy and bringing victory to Sri Lanka in the inaugural game played at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium. It is sad to see you getting out for 92 runs.

Sri Lankans, are proud of our centurion Mahela Jayawardena and yourself the two great cricketers who brought people of Hambantota area and who kept on their feet during your partnership.

Congratulations Dilshan for achieving the first fifty at the stadium on a ODI.

Tissara Perera had the pleasure of getting a wicket with his first over in his first World Cup appearance. Thank you once again for a superb achievement amidst the criticism of some of the cricketing pundits.

Mahinda Athulathmudali

Medical reps

Often the young Medical reps come in to meet us doctors and I sincerely wish they are trained better. Many of them bend down almost double trying to be very submissive which can be pretty embarrassing for doctors. It may be because some doctors may be treating like lesser mortals but these are upcoming youngsters. They must be taught that their job is as good as doctor’s and they must do it with dignity. They must be taught they need not be subservient to the doctors rather just tell the doctors about the medicine they are promoting and ask them to try it out.

On the other hand they also must know not to try to teach the doctors A, B, C of medicine.

They must assess the doctor’s willingness to listen and restrict the talk according to it.

It is a bad habit to catch the doctors in the car park or when they are getting into the hospital. The doctors are forced to listen to them rather reluctantly.

These youngsters are going to be tomorrow’s leaders. So it is imperative the companies give them proper training.

Dr Mareena Thaha Reffai Dehiwela

Blessing in disguise

Disasters and calamities that occur due to elements of nature misbehaving cannot be prevented. Accordingly, adverse effects of such occurrences should be converted to blessings in disguise, which is essential for our survival. Such incidents give us the opportunity of identifying and activating areas which have remained forgotten due to no necessity and abundance.

Accordingly, the one million home garden program initiated by the Government is a timely concept that should give the desired results to be achieved converting the above adverse effects to vice versa, resulting in freak weather patterns. These are effects of La Nina and El Nino bringing opposite reactions. Needless to mention that the advantages of this exercise fully and correctly undertaken would have an impact on the development of the country as well.

Tommy Wanigesinghe - Kurunegala

Ex-Servicemen and high medical costs

Recently the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had commented adversely on the exorbitant medical charges in private hospitals. These medical charges include the high fees charged by doctors and other medical consultants.

If one goes to any Channelled Consultation Service, one would see the hordes of patients waiting to be seen by one medical specialist or another. Many of these patients can ill-afford the high consultation fees charged, but they have Hobson’s Choice. There are many Ex-Servicemen among those patients. The people of this country are now aware of the sacrifices that have been made by the men and women in the Armed Services and Police.

Should not the doctors and Medical Specialists, some of whom might make over Rs 100,000 per day, consider examining the Ex-Servicemen free or at least at a reduced fee and the Channelled Consultation Services too consider a reduction?

Ex-serviceman Kalubowila

A tough decision

It was published in the Daily News that the chief selector of the world cup squad had stated that it was to axe both Sanath and Chaminda Vass from the team. I found it extremely difficult to believe it.

Some writers in other English newspapers have maintained that Sanath had to be dropped because he was a member of Parliament and Vass was sidelined because they wanted to drop Sanath. Sanath was elected as a MP because he was recognised as a great and exiting cricketer and not because of any other reason. What Roy Dias stated a few days back should be noted with concern.

Sanath is very fit and agile person though 40 years of age. Both Sanath and Vass should not get disheartened and should go on playing in 50 over ODI matches for the love of the game without hanging their Boots.

Ranjan Goonetillake



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