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Thursday, 27 June 2013

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Expand the CMC food hygiene programme

Colombo is the largest city and the commercial centre in Sri Lanka. It is a busy and vibrant city with a resident population of over seven million, with a few hundred thousand visiting almost daily. Everybody knows that the Colombo Municipal Council is the local government authority responsible for the administration of the city with an area of over 3729 hectares in size. The 'City Development Strategy of Colombo' was formulated in the year 2000 with a ten year perspective and the strategic vision of developing it as a 'Model City in Asia' where people could enjoy quality living, acquire optional capacity and opportunity for creation of wealth for the well-being of all to sustain and improve their environment. One of the major strategies was to improve the level of food hygiene within the city of Colombo.

Food Act No. 26 of 1980 as amended by Act No. 20 of 1991 regulates and controls the manufacture, importation, sales and distribution of food. Accordingly, the Colombo Municipal Council becomes the food authority and the Medical Officers of Health, Food Inspectors and Public Health Inspectors are the authorized officers to maintain food safety and hygiene promotion in the Colombo city.

A few months back, the Public Health Department carried out routine examinations of drinking water and food samples taken from eating houses in the city. A food safety and hygiene promotion programme was developed by the Public Health Department of the CMC and was implemented in 2002. Under this programme some eateries and food stalls in the city were assessed by the Public Health Inspectors.

However, there are thousands of eateries big and small where inspections should be carried out on a regular basis. For this purpose, the food safety and hygiene promotion programme of the Colombo Municipal Council should be developed to achieve its objectives. Also, a training programme for cooks of the Kotthu Rotti cadre should be launched without delay.

HARSHI NADIE PERERA
PILIYANDALA


Disparity in pension payments

There is a long-standing unresolved discrepancy between pension payments drawn by senior retirees and those by recently retired persons. The former category of pensioners claim that they have been subjected to discrimination by the current method of paying pensions. They have been subjected to a disadvantage of having to receive a lower pension, compared to what the latter group gets. This incongruity of the pension payment scheme impacts badly the very existence of the pensioners who feel left out. Some mechanism should be implemented soon to liberate this pension disparity.

NANDARATNA RAJAPAKSHA
AMBALANGODA


Private lodgings in the cities

Prostitution seems to have become a flourishing trade in recent years with rooms in lodging houses being rented in every town across the country. In fact these rooms are brothels disguised as private lodgings. Operators of this particular trade lure girls from villages promising them employment in factories, and these girls faced with economic impoverishment, easily fall prey to their deceptive game. If this practice is allowed to continue, it would entail a huge public health risk. Society would run the risk of being exposed to the killer epidemic of AIDS.

Sometime ago a number of school children were accused of watching pornographic videos. The existing ignoble climate of indiscipline in public life is such that before long school children would be tempted to patronize such lodgings and the so called massage parlours. This eventuality of tomorrow's students might be a very real possibility.

It has been seen that the overall discipline in this country has begun to sink. If the current noisome situation is to be brought under effective control, the authorities need to act now.

NANDARATNA RAJAPAKSHA
AMBALANGODA


Minister Dullas and young couples

Reference the news item appearing in the Daily News of June 19, 2013 under the caption ‘Be lenient on young couples’, every right thinking person will agree that minister Dullas Alahapperuma has spoken well on humanitarian grounds, on a very poignant point in our society. According to the newspaper report, he had delivered this message at a conference held where Officers-in-Charge of Police Stations and media personnel of Matara and Hambantota Districts were present.

It is not unnatural for young people to fall in love and to express their feelings towards each other wherever and whenever they meet.

Of course these young boys and girls would prefer the sea-beach, parks and places where pleasant natural surroundings are found and disturbances are less.

To humiliate and harass them and specially for law enforcement officers to arrest them in such situations, cannot be considered fair. The stark truth is that many older law-enforcement officers conveniently forget their own youthful days and frown upon innocent young boys and girls, and try to put them into embarrassing situations.

As the minister had stated, law-enforcement officers should first think of their young days and act in a lenient manner towards the not so matured young people. A friendly approach, and advice to them in more refined and decent ways would surely yield better results. They could be advised to refrain from going to the extremes as schoolchildren, and their parents could be watchful.

Nowadays we hear of many unpleasant incidents of innocent fair sex members being waylaid and harassed by unscrupulous characters. Law-enforcement officers should invariably act promptly in such instances to bring the culprits to book in the larger interest of the society.

D.W. NANDISENA
COLOMBO 3


Second class travel with third class tickets

I wish to commend the Transport Minister and the Railway authorities for introducing second class carriages in office trains for those who wish to travel paying a higher fare. However sadly, passengers with second class tickets are often harassed by those holding third class tickets while wrongfully travelling in second class compartments.

This is very commonly seen in the Polgahawela train that leaves Colombo Fort at 4.40 pm and still worse in the morning train that leaves Gampaha for Fort at 6.53 am (Fouzie Train). It is very difficult to travel even standing in these morning trains, leave alone seated.

A friend of mine recently narrowly escaped being assaulted by passengers in this Colombo bound train. The reason was that he accidentally stepped on the foot of one of the passengers, who had been blocking the corridor, while trying to find his way into a second class compartment.

The offender was with some youngster friends who were clinging onto the foot boards and passing remarks on girls and ladies walking alongside the rail track. They were even blocking the corridors of the particular train. They probably were a lot undergoing vocational training courses in some institution, for all were uniformly attired in black trousers and white shirts.

It is a great injustice to those who have paid the higher fare to be denied travel in the relevant compartment. Making announcements at stations that it is a punishable offence to travel in second class compartments holding third class tickets is a joke. The law should be implemented.

I hope the relevant officials would take remedial action and ensure justice to those who pay the double the fare.

E. DE MEL email

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