There is no argument that public transport in Sri Lanka should be
promoted to meet the increasing needs of the people. Public transport is
the best transport option when we consider the environmental and
resource aspects of the transport sector. The system provides facilities
for a higher number of passengers in an efficient manner at minimal
pollution, low cost, and saving on foreign exchange on fuel imports.
There is a need now to encourage people to use buses and trains instead
of their own vehicles.
There were efforts like the 'Park and Ride' where people were
encouraged to travel using buses. More recently the SLTB commenced a
luxury city service around the capital of Colombo. However these were
not successful as anticipated. Railway transport could be increased by
optimising its usage. Many possible passengers tend to use buses and
private vehicles although they can use the railway. Since passenger
transport is comparatively cheaper, railway transport benefits the
passenger. Further, goods transport was a major income for the railway
since its beginning.
However with the advent of motor transport this has declined in
importance, during recent times. There is an effort initiated recently
to improve goods transportation including container transport via
There is certainly a possibility of improving goods transport using
train services. However road sector developments have raised concerns
with the increasing rate of accidents. Further the discipline of bus
drivers is known to be bad. Private bus drivers blaring horns
incessantly are a common sight and VIPs escorted by security guards are
known for running races and usually disregarding traffic lights. Civil
society actions seem to be lacking in the transport sector when compared
to the other sectors intervening.
Sri Lanks's transport sector development should not be limited to the
road sector. The railway system too should be developed. The Kelani
Valley railway line should be expanded along with the reconstruction of
the Northern railway infrastructure from Medawachchiya to Talaimannar
and Omanthai to Palali.
Rajpal Abeynaike has spoken loud and bold like Chapman in translating
Homer, and deserves the plaudits of the patriotic independent citizens
of our country for his article on a topic of much importance at this
First of all, it is an internal report and Parliament could consider
its contents if so inclined and arrive at a decision, or place the
relevant recommendations before the people if the consequence of their
implementations were to have far reaching effects.
It is certainly not a matter for western nations, to decide that the
report should be implemented.
The people of this country and those western nations should turn
their attention to more urgent and pressing problems of the world like
environment pollution and global warming which have a bearing on Human
Rights, than directing their attention at trivialities on a speck in the
O Tempora, O Mores!
A copy of my letter under the above heading in the ‘Citizens Mail’
column of 31.1.2003 was forwarded to the Chairman of the Panadura UC who
informed me that steps are being taken to commence work soon and
complete it within the year. He has also stated that about Rs. 300,000
is due as arrears from rate payers. With this money and along with any
other source of funding, it is hoped to complete the work. I thank the
Chairman for his prompt attention in this regard.
For most people, St. Patrick's Day is a day of parades, parties,
leprechauns and green beer. But just as Christmas is about more than
commercial fun, so too does St. Patrick's Day have a deeper meaning. St.
Patrick's Day began as a religious holiday to honour St. Patrick - a
Bishop sent to Ireland in 433 AD by Pope Celestine 1 to draw its people
into the fold of Christ's universal church.
Upon his arrival on Ireland's shores, St. Patrick encountered many
setbacks and persecution by the superstitious Druids who had employed
magicians to maintain their stay over the Irish race. Despite severe
trials, St. Patrick was able to convert all of Ireland and conquer
paganism. He is thus credited with driving the Celtic snakes out of
Ireland. St. Patrick is credited with many miracles and is responsible
for the building of several Catholic schools, monasteries and churches
throughout Ireland. He is known for his powerful exposition of the
principles of the Catholic faith. He even employed the ordinary, little
three-leaved shamrock plant to teach people about the Blessed Trinity.
He was called to his heavenly reward on March 17, 461. St. Patrick was a
humble, pious gentleman whose total love, devotion and trust in God
should be a shining example to each of us.
Sugar cane cultivation began with state patronage over 60 years ago
by the Agriculture Department in Kantalai. The sugar factory at
Hingurana commenced production on July 4, 1962. During the first
harvesting and crushing season 290 tones of white sugar was produced.
The Gal Oya Sugar Industries was detached from the Gal Oya Development
Board and on 1.10.1967 along with Kantalai Sugar Industries was vested
in a new corporation known as the Sri Lanka Sugar Corporation.
Sevanagala Sugar Industries came up in 1970 at Moneragala to
distribute cane tops from Hingurana to farmers in rain fed areas and to
those who could do lift irrigation. This was a popular project by the
SLFP government and it spread to distant places like Hiniduma in Galle.
About 40,000 acres of land were under this crop. I co-ordinated this
operation and though requests at that time for a minister was not
considered by the high command, the government in 1970 got Bradman
Weerakoon of the CCS to resolve land disputes. I was also involved in
this work to some extent in my capacity as the senior aide to the Sugar
Plantation Manager, to whom the lands in sugar areas belonged to.
Hingurana was finally sold to one S. Arumugam in 1994 for Rs. 128 m when
the actual government assessed value was Rs. 800 m. He paid Rs. 25 m and
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over this government, he had
for inspection only the skeletal remains of the state sponsored
industries. As a man on a mission with a vision, he saw the revival of
these industries as a massive undertaking and an elephantine task to
complete. He created the Supplementary Crops Development Ministry and
placed sugar amongst other crops under the late Dharmadasa Banda who was
with us since the inception of Hingurana Sugar Industries. When it came
to the stage of expanding plantations under the Mahinda Chinthana to
various parts of the country, the President created the Sugar Cane
Industries Ministry and installed Lakshman Seneviratne as minister. This
is what we expected 48 years ago and if that had been implemented the
industry would not have faced the catastrophic end it met.
Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said during an inspection tour, that
some Opposition quarters ridicule his appointment. The minister need not
worry about utterances made by those who failed to protect the industry
from a catastrophic end but must be happy about becoming the first Sugar
Cane Industries Minister in Sri Lanka.