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Thursday, 25 August 2011

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Opa At Your Service

Questions and Answers

Unauthorized construction

Question: One of my neighbours living next to my land has constructed an unauthorized foundation obstructing the path and the rainwater drain and has erected and iron gate over it. Owing to this construction it causes a lot of inconvenience during rainy days. My land gets flooded because the rain water could not seep through the drain.

I brought this to the notice of the Mahara Pradeshiya Sabha, an officer visited the place and requested my neighbour to clear the obstruction. As he failed to do so I made another complaint to them and I was informed that they will send him instructions in writing.

On 23/02/2011 and 02/04/2011, I received copies of letters sent to the relevant party to demolish the construction within seven days from the date thereof. But to date the construction has not been demolished.

Thereafter, although I called over at the Mahara Pradeshiya Sabha on several occasions it was of no avail.

As the Local Authority has failed to take action I had made written representations to the higher authorities on July 25, 2011 under registered cover for which a reply is still awaited. (a copy of this letter is annexed for your reference). Kindly advice me what further steps should I take to overcome this problem. A C Khairunisia - Enderamulla

Answer: The least your neighbour can now do is to divert the rainwater drain around his unauthorized construction and let the rainwater to flow uninterrupted. Can you or someone else persuade him to do so?

On the other hand you have already written to the highest in the land and you can await the outcome as all such letters are attended to according to the best of our knowledge.

However, we suggest that you write to the Chief Secretary of the Western Provincial Council and the Governor of the Western Provincial Council along with copies of letters received by you dated 23/02/2011 and 02/04/2011 from the Pradeshiya Sabha. Also you should continue to follow up the mater with the Pradeshiya Sabha. This is the only way out. Unless you want to spend your own money and go to courts. It is the Pradeshiya Sabha who should take your neighbour to courts.


Diverting waste water to the road

Question: My house is situated by the side of a Provincial Council public road and there is no proper drainage system to this road. An owner of a house at left-hand side of my house is diverting his waste water to the road. For this purpose he has dug a drain up to my house and allowed waste water to flow through this drain. The water come and collect in front of my house.

Please let me know whether there is any law or by-law restricting diversion of waste water to a public road.

Mohandas Dias - Panadura

Answer: Your neighbour has no right to send his waste water to the road. Residents are expected to have their own pit within their property for waste water disposal. Only the rainwater can be sent to drains alongside the road if any. If there are no drains alongside the road, residents cannot divert even the rainwater to the road except the rainwater that would naturally flow out to a road which is at lower level or the sides of the road.

You should make a complain to your Pradeshiya Sabha preferably in writing and get their acknowledgement of acceptance indicated on a copy of your letter. Also you should forward a copy or this letter to the Chief Secretary of your Provincial Council. The worst is if both parties do not take any action, in which case you may have to complain to the Governor of the Province along with a copy of your letter sent to the Pradeshiya Sabha and Provincial Council.


EPF fund

Question: I write this letter to convey my gratitude for publishing my article with regard to my EPF refund.

In this context, I wish to thank your Professional Centre for the yeoman services rendered to the citizens of Sri Lanka.

After my article was published in the Daily News, the relevant authorities woke up from their slumber and took speedy action to refund my EPF after nearly one year and three months.

I am indeed grateful to the OPA and take this opportunity to wish the OPA all the success in your future endeavours.

M I I Sheriff - Colombo

Answer: Your question and our response appeared prominently within a “box” in the “OPA At Your Service” page in the Daily News paper on July 21, 2011. We had spoken to the officer in-charge of the Investigation Division of the EPF Section of the Central Bank of Ceylon and requested you to follow it up.

We are pleased to know that you have now received your refund. Also glad that you have communicated this to us. In order to encourage our readers we are publishing your acknowledgement. Now that you have got your refund, we hope you don’t mind our publishing your name for credibility reasons.


Most disadvantaged pensioners

Question: I shall thank you if you please pursue these matters with the relevant authorities as the above category of pensioners have been neglected wherever anomalies in the payment of pensions are affected.

Pensioners who were compelled to retire in the early eighties due to age are not being paid the pensions presently drawn by retirees of the same grades. Pensions are not increased wherever the salaries of present day serving officers are increased but are accumulated for long periods of time, same times as much as over 10 years, by which time many of them may have passed away.

Hence, I suggest that payment of arrears of pension be stopped and pensions be increased simultaneously wherever increases are given to serving officers.

Pensioners cannot afford to wait for a number of years to settle their Electricity, Water, Telephone and Gas payments, which keep escalating every now and then.

K N W Abayasekara - Mount Lavinia

Answer: As we have stated before in this column for a similar question, our understanding of the government in this issue is that whilst the heart is willing, the purse is not willing. Employees in several government institutions and corporations have not received their salary increase for a couple of years.

The government has stated as its policy to adjust the pension in line with salary revisions but however this matter is on hold as the government has no resources to pay this following the expenditure on war and now on accelerated development. In addition government continues to subsidize power sector and the petroleum sector which are making losses.

The OPA and the Presidents of all its constituent institutions have been invited to meet the President regarding proposals for the next budget. We assure you that the OPA will take up this matter as well.


Clean environment for school

Question: Most institutions and offices keep their front compound clean and attractive, but fail to keep the same around. I know a popular girls school along Katugastota, Kandy Road is the same. The toilets are a very important place in a school. It is in a bad state according to the children. One can wonder whether they use a disinfectant at least once a week for cleaning stinks badly beyond that premises.

The canteen too is closer to it. Some toilet doors have no locks. So children have to go with a friend for security. Out of ten toilets, only two or three have an old discarded paint bucket for water. That too is so dirty to hold. As a result children refuse to drink water to avoid the use of toilet.

Certain requests have fallen on deaf ears. Apart from fees, money is taken “then and now” for “that and this”. Why can’t this be attended to? Why don’t the health authorities look into this and such issues?

If dengue breeders are charged a fine what about these unhygienic toilets?

Worried parents - Kandy

Answer: Although you have requested us to publish your letter, whilst agreeing to publish it in the ‘Daily News OPA At Your Service Page’, a mere publication alone may not solve your problem. Therefore, we have written to the Kandy Zonal Director of Education explaining the problem and requesting for their assistance. We have also copied our letter to the Zonal Director, to the Principal of the school concerned as well.

Another copy of our letter has been posted to you as well. We trust that necessary action will be taken by the school authorities and that the Zonal Director will ensure that action is taken in this regard.


Annual sessions

The annual sessions of the Organization of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA) will be held on September 29 and 30, 2011. The inauguration ceremony will be at the new main hall of the BMICH on September 29, 2011 at 4 pm. The theme for this year is ‘Innovation for sustainable prosperity’.

The chief guests will be President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The keynote speaker will be High Commissioner for the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Mahbub-uz Zaman. The guests of honour will be Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Prof Tissa Vitharana and Director, International Labour Organization for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Dangli Li. Registration for participation at the OPA Centre.

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Send your questions

The Organization 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, [email protected] Fax: 2559770 or write to the Professional Centre, 275/75, Prof, Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, off Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.

 

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