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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

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Water supply in Colombo needs to be changed

In my lane and in several neighbouring others in Wellawatte South from the night of December 15 to 29 the water pressure increased. At night for about four hours tanks located up to 30 feet above ground were filling every night, thus providing enough water for the following day. During the day water rose only to between three to six feet depending on times of day.

From December 30 night the tanks did not fill on any nights and during the days water rose to only between a few inches to two feet. Between 7.30 am and 9.00 am there was no water at all.

As no water rises to overhead tanks in the night, the electric pumps will work and your electricity bill would be substantially higher than normal.

There will be telephone calls to 1939 Call Centre who will pass it on to the relevant Area Engineer. There is no collation of calls, location wise to determine what action should be taken to permanently increase the water pressure in those areas.

NWSDB has very little, or no organized data about the actual measured pressures at different times of the day, in affected areas. It depends on telephoned consumer complaints of “No Water”. During water interruptions, the telephone number 1939 is almost continuously engaged and many consumers cannot complain. This misleads the NWSDB to conclude the service is not so bad.

A Google search on the internet for ‘Water Pressure Data Loggers’ gives many instruments on offer for continuous recording. (like CEB). It is surprising NWSDB is not using the new technology.

Briefly they are small-battery operated, record pressures at a consumer's tap at time intervals to be set by user, records continuously for many days, retains in its electronic memory the readings.

The recorded readings can be seen by a software provided by the supplier, on any computer with Windows operating system, and be printed. This is all that the NWSDB needs to determine the measured pressure of water supplied to customers at all times.

The advertised prices are around US $ 490 each in USA, weighs only about 400 grms and size is 8x8x6 cm. We have enough manpower in NWSDB to collect the meters for readings at installed sites or at the area office.

There are also systems in which the remote data loggers can be monitored and readings recorded electronically by a central controlling station. SCADA is one such. They are very expensive and quite unnecessary and overseas training would be asked for by engineers.

I suggest that NWSDB starts with a few meters in the ‘bad areas'. Meters must be connected to a water line that comes direct from the street pipes (not from a storage tank).

Government work places and volunteering private consumers could have these meters fitted in their premises.

As an incentive, a reduction of Rs 500 per 30 days could be given on their water bills for a 30 day continuous monitoring, coinciding with the consumers billing cycle. The records must be properly preserved, unlike the extensive maps of the city water pipe lines done with Norwegian Aid about 30 years ago, nothing of which is now available.

Consumers should collect samples thus 1) from street water lines direct (say a street standpipe or garden tap) 2) At locations when the water pressure is low and the ground is sodden 3) at locations where there are garbage dumps, dirty stagnant water. On payment of Rs 1200 a sterilized bottle would be given by the CMC City Microbiological Laboratory at Arnold Ratnayake Mw near Colombo Eye Hospital. In a few days the report will be given. A similar facility is available at the MRI Borella.

Dominic L J Seneviratne

 

Escalating railway freight income

The news item in the Sunday Observer, December 25, that the General Manager Railways is taking steps to improve the transport of goods with the procuring of locomotives from India warmed my heart. From the inception the goods transport brought in a sizeable income. Improvements of the highways brought in Road Hauliers who imported heavy high capacity vehicles and bowsers providing door to door service won over the transport of goods. The closing of the coast line for upgrading for long periods also have caused the losing on freight.

Laying of the rail track from Bangadeniya to Aruvakkal was mainly for the transport of lime stone to the cement factory at Palavi. Instead of finding solutions to the problems created by the train crews, the management took a negative attitude and palmed over the transport to the company thus losing a big income. Hope general manager railways will take necessary steps to take back the limestone transport also in his endeavour to enhance the income on freight.

B B Perera

 

Translators’ salary anomalies ignored

It is common knowledge that there is an acute dearth of translators in both the public and the provincial public service. To my mind there are several reasons for the same which should be addressed in a positive and sagacious manner.

1. Applications are not received from well-qualified persons when the examination for the selection of translators is gazetted due to the inadequate salary scale assigned to the post of translator in view of the qualifications required.

In the circumstances, the amount of annual salary increments of translators both class I and special class have been reduced according to the recently revised salary scales (P A Circular 06/2006) by the salaries and cardre commission appointed to revise salaries of public servants.

2. Certain members of certain committees appointed have suggested to relax educational qualifications prescribed for the recruitment of translators so as to provide opportunities for the less qualified individuals, viz. non-graduates to apply for the recruitment examination as an ad hoc method in providing an instant solution to the problem of the acute dearth of translators which is to my mind is a disgrace and a humiliation to the qualitative translators’ service which malicious endeavour should be nipped in the bud by showing translators’ overt objections towards such disgraceful efforts of a certain section of high-ranking officialdom which should not be brooked at all.

It is ironical that such suggestions are put forward by those who are making every possible effort to ensconce themselves in their own positions in the public service.

For instance - if one suggests to relax the educational qualifications for open competitive examination to be held for the selection of officers for Sri Lanka Administrative Service, can the officers of Sri Lanka Administrative Service agree with that suggestion?

3. Now the annual salary increment of supra grade clerical officers has been increased upto Rs 6,000/- which earlier was equivalent to that of the annual salary increment of translators’ class I which is the recruitment level of translators’ service when the annual salary increment of special class translators was equivalent to that of the annual salary increment of the officers of class II grade II of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service.

Let apart the equal amount of salary increments, but now according to the Public Administration Circular No 06/2006, the amount of the annual salary increment of special class translators has been surpassed by the annual salary increment assigned to supra grade clerical officers. We are not against the same but what translators deserve should be given to them.

W J B T M Fernando

 

Private hospital rip - off reduced

I was glad to read in the Daily News that the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had decided to operate paying wards in government hospitals.

Apart from diverting revenue from private hospitals to government hospitals as anticipated by the minister, it will no doubt drastically reduce rip off by private hospitals of the patients. Hope that more and more paying wards will be opened.

Reader

 

Contribute to economy in positive ways

The high cost of living is a hackneyed statement one hears these days. Rising cost of living is caused due to the production and consumption gap. The gap has narrowed year by year but the local demand for imports goes up day by day.

It was Mahathma Gandhi who taught the Indians to value their own products without depending on imported goods. We too could follow this example as our country is prosperous with natural resources.

From 1965, we have all been blaming all successive governments for their inability to bring down the cost of living. Instead, we all could contribute something in a positive way.

Isaac T. Kulendran

 

Police and lodging entries

If one visits a police station to lodge an entry, valuable time is wasted as a considerable crowd is waiting daily to lodge entries. A PC or WPC at the desk writes down the entry and this requires a lot of time. Since this is the computer era computers should be used to handle the entries and certify copies. It will prevent a person to visit the station to get an entry copy which he has to ‘waste time’ for various reasons.

In certain cases, where an entry should be produced in court, the ‘big entry book’ has to be carried and if another entry is to be referred from the same book he has to wait till it is brought back from the Court. Many practical difficulties could be avoided if computers are used in this purpose.

Hope the IGP will consider this suggestion and the Defence Ministry will do the needful.

Nazly Cassim

 

Pensioners’ misery

I am perturbed by the misleading article by V K B Ramanayake of Maharagama in the Daily News on January 10, 2012.

He states that pensioners are granted an increase of Rs 1,000/-. I patiently waited for the payment of my pension for the month of January and found that the increase is only Rs 500/-.

This is only a pittance for the pre 2006 pensioners.

Nanda Nanayakkara

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