transport service is appalling
transport service in Sri Lanka, to say the least, is
owners operating lease financed buses or those picked up from
auctions and junk- yards and partially restored, are hell bent
on squeezing out as much money as possible from helpless
commuters who have no option but to board these cattle
buses are operated with defective brakes, lights and worn- out
tyres with a bare minimum or nothing invested on maintenance,
jeopardising the lives of passengers and other road users.
as a precaution against the appalling mechanical state of the
buses, inexperienced and indisciplined, raw drivers virtually
drive on their horns, cutting in and out of traffic in
indecent haste, forcing pedestrians and motorists out of their
drivers are a law unto themselves, knowing well that the
traffic police are absolutely meek, lethargic and powerless
and do not even attempt to halt a speeding, recklessly driven
bus. Bus drivers obviously consider traffic policemen to be
boobies. The DIG, Traffic should spend a few mornings from
about 6.30 am observing the manner in which buses are driven
on High Level Road, Havelock Road and Galle Road.
race and overtake each other at break-neck speed on the wrong
side of the road in attempting to increase each one's share of
most days there are no traffic policemen before 7 am. Buses
roar along, blaring their horns and blasting others off the
road with impunity and total disregard for the police. No
minister or politician has had the spunk to ban the use of
horns in Colombo or reduce the speed limit for buses,
considering the grossly inadequate width of our roads and the
mechanical condition of the buses. The chaos created
on our roads by reckless bus drivers is as bad as the
present crime wave in Sri Lanka . I am afraid DIG Traffic and
his men have failed miserably in their task in adopting a
bovine attitude towards errant bus drivers and I am certain
that most road users other than the bus drivers and traffic
policemen share this view.
motor accidents and road deaths
and again, daily papers, occasionally the radio and
television, reports news of tragic road accidents resulting in
loss of life with horrific photo images. Regrettably, no
reaction from the public or authorities or for that matter
from the politicians in the government or in the opposition
number of road deaths, serious injury, disability, often
permanent, from road accidents are on the increase in Sri
Lanka. Yet no one appears to be responsible for the prevention
of deaths and daily carnage on our roads, whereas the Highways
Department, Traffic Police, law
courts, Justice Department and road/traffic engineers
should be made responsible.
Lanka, of late is unique with a high percentage increase in
the volume of motor traffic in the urban areas, in the absence
of an effective and organised public transport system.
safety is a public health issue as it involves lives. Serious
injury, permanent disability, disfigurement, amputations and
health interventions place a huge financial burden on the
resource starved state health care system. Equaly, loss of
life, partial or incomplete recovery with disability, either
motor or sensory, place an enormous burden on the low income
families due to loss of earnings and they are often driven to
debt in seeking specialist treatment.
there is death by violence, disease and illness. The last
thing one wants is to get run over by a motor cycle. Figures
confirm, the public transport buses take the lead in accidents
resulting in injury and death. Most victims are pedestrians
and cyclists (often irresponsible), who appear to display a
death wish once they get on to the road.
behaviour, whether influenced by alcohol, drugs or whatever,
and the standards of driving are also major contributory
factors. So is the callous behaviour of motorcyclists and
cyclists and pedestrians for whom safety is not considered a
priority and entirely relying on chance and the vigilance of
road safety, there are inexpensive measures, like enhancing
conspicuity, fixing a light source, use of headlights and
wearing bright reflective or fluorescent colours or materials
for easy visibility . These will no doubt reduce the deaths by
accidents on the roads.
is common knowledge that low conspicuity of the pedestrians
and cyclists, especially in the twilight, dark and in the rain
increases the risk of road accidents.
is a solution to prevent these tragedies. Existing traffic
laws should be enforced fully on the cyclists and
motorcyclists as it applies to other vehicle drivers. Police
should enforce the law not only during the day, but also after
dark to save lives.
cyclists, motorcyclists should be encouraged to wear
reflective / fluorescent vests or a band across the upper body
or wrist or ankle straps to be visible by drivers during
twilight and darkness.
Daya S. Wanigaratne
raffle draw - a hoax
leading 'Super Centre' advertised a grand raffle draw for
shoppers between November 20 2004 to January 5 2005 offering a
Maruti car and a host of household items for customers who
spent Rs 750 each time they shopped.
draw was advertised to be held on January 14 at 6.30 pm at
Arpico Super Centre, Hyde Park Corner.
was never held and there was no response to repeated inquiries
made by shoppers at the entrance to the showrooms.
desperate telephone calls made by gullible shoppers, they were
asked to contact the manager, This was a dead end too.
challenge the management of this 'Super Centre' to refute this
action which borders on fraud.
need for accounting and reporting system
the immediate 36 to 48 hours of national action and rescue of
life and limb following the tsunami catastrophe were
admirable, the next phase, if one might call it, in what we
are now - of comforting, treating and accommodating the
countless displaced by use of the enormous tsunami assistance
that had flown in - have been, barring a few exceptions,
halting, wanting and fallen short not only of targets but of
the financial resources available to achieve those targets.
was initially, over centralised while machinery at ground
level has not been properly organised. Perhaps even more
seriously, there has been no true knowledge among the people,
who after all, matter the most, of the volumes and nature, of
the international aid. The purposes of the aid itself have
seen confusion, even duplication, and non-use.
strongest and most effective contributions at this stage to
all concerned would be:
A complete format (quite distinct from the computer
wizardries in rooms at the centre) for everybody's
A monthly broadsheet, displayed in all newspapers, of
the state of the funding, their sources, natures,
disbursements and overall co-ordination - in a grand table
addressed to the people of the country; and as implementing
guide to the government, right down to the lowest government
installations - for the next phase.
is no doubt that this step will be one of the greatest
contributing factors to the paramount need that we have, to
speed up implementation, to avoid duplication and to restore
life and normalcy to the victims.
'mega' projects of infrastructure and others, while essential,
are not to be overdone at this stage; and in any case, the
crying needs of the people for life and living are what they
are demanding immediately.
are tsunami affected Muslims discriminated?
December 26 last, Weligama town , Vajiragnana Mawatha, Station
Road, Meda Mawatha, Sea Road, Pelena, Samaraweera Place, New
and Old Matara roads, Hettiweediya, and some areas at
Kottegoda and Galbokka were badly affected by the tsunami.
places are situated on low lands bordering the Polwathu Modara
river and its branches and connected to the sea by way of
canals. Also, these places are located within the range of
400-500 metres to the sea; all of which have been the main
reason for the destruction .
extent of the destruction evaluated by the Galbokka Buhari
Mosque relief centre is immense. On examination it is seen
that here too the same discrimination as was shown during the
recent flood relief activities can be seen in the relief work
for the tsunami affected .
all those affected by the tsunami lodged their complaints with
the police and the G.S. a full and proper investigation was
not carried out. Therefore yellow relief cards have not been
divisional secretariat has wrongly limited relief work only up
to the railway lines. During this catastrophe it was only the
individuals and religious community centres that helped the
victims by way of giving first aid, food, lodging etc. Without
visiting the affected areas, how could the divisional
secretariat define the affected areas?
of relief items come and daily needs are freely distributed to
other areas as we have come to know. However, up to now what
the government has provided us are 4 kgs of rice, 1 kg of
sugar and 2 kgs of dhal.
stones are laid for housing schemes in other areas, though
16-20 houses of Muslims are completely destroyed and some
partly damaged houses are not recommended for renovation by
the engineers. Why has the government not paid their attention
to this area?
to the 100-300 metre regulation by the government, our people
are afraid to renovate their houses and resettle there. Every
effort is being made to grab and seize the lands belonging to
the Muslims. Steps have already been taken to reconstruct
boundary walls. Those responsible for law and order are
turning a blind eye to all this .
ruins and garbage in our areas are still to be cleared. Though
the government showed urgency in clearing Hambantota, why has
the government not shown urgency in this area?
action has yet been taken to prevent the spread of
communicable diseases in this area.
relief cards issued for the affected employees have not been
given to our people, though issued in other areas.
allowance of Rs. 375.00 due to the affected have not been
given to us yet.
stepmotherly treatment by those responsible pushes us further
affected people who lived in rented houses have provided a
relief fund (yellow card) in this tsunami affected area. But
here in the Weligama area such people have been neglected. It
is very pathetic that even their names have been deleted from
the list of affected people by the G.S.
we appeal to you to pay attention to our difficult plight and
grant us some relief as soon as possible.
is one year since we lost our precious and dearly beloved sister
Miriam on February 10, 2004. Being the eldest she was the
very best in the family and was a shining example to the four of us
and was exemplary in everything that she did. Hence God called her
first to her eternal reward.
was such a fun loving person that she amused everyone around her
with anecdotes and a puckish sense of humour. She was a paragon of
virtue and set high standards for herself by living a highly
principled life. She was very practical and never wavered in her
devotion to duty to her family and the host of friends scattered all
around the world.
massive outpouring of grief at her passing away was the yardstick
that measured her popularity with family and friends alike, yet
humility was the foremost virtue in her life. It was indeed the
greatest blessing and sense of pride to have Miriam as our sister,
but unfortunately her passing away before reaching even the Biblical
lifespan has overshadowed our lives with a great cloud of unbearable
will never ever forget all the happy and sad times we shared
together, the memories of which will live in our hearts forever. It
was a great source of comfort and joy whenever Miriam corresponded
with us as her letters were spiced with humour and at the same time
filling us in with current happenings in her life, with a distinct
style of writing which was really a pleasure to read; in fact they
were pure gems of letters to be treasured always.
always made very practical and sensible decisions in her life and
never let her emotions get in the way whatever difficulties she had
to face. In short, she taught her heart, but never let her heart be
her teacher. Even when she was diagnosed with a terminal illness,
she accepted it in a calm and collected manner praising God and
thanking him for having chosen her to endure suffering. She had
great courage and spiritual strength to all of us until the end,
accepting her illness as the final stage before her death.
was a tower of strength to all of us, accepting her illness as the
final test of her faith in God. When we were worried about her, she
consoled us with the thought that none of us have come here to live
forever on earth and when God calls we must leave.
are inadequate to describe all the sterling qualities that made up
Miriam's character. She was indeed the greatest sister on earth, an
invaluable treasure lost to us, but in God's keeping.
concluding this tribute to Miriam, we are certain that she had
earned her fitting reward and is at peace and rest in Heaven since
God himself said "Come all ye that are burdened and I will give
you rest." The only consolation and hope that we have is that
someday, we will all meet in God's kingdom where there will be no
more sorrow, no more weeping and no more pain.
in peace, dearest darling Miriam, until we meet again.
Sonia and Emmanuel,
Ivor and Jennifer,
Pam and Aubrey
dear friend Chandra is no more and with each passing day the void
seems deeper. Our friendship goes back over 40 years from the time
we first met each other at our place of work. We were both just out
of school, raw and innocent. In later years we derived great joy in
recalling the several pranks we played together during this carefree
period in our lives. She would love to tease me about our youthful
escapades and I would retort saying, "with friends like this,
one doesn't need enemies." We had no secrets from one another
and gave each other the support during difficult times in our lives.
the passage of time our friendship grew to one of 'kalyanamitra' and
together we strengthened each other in our efforts to walk the
had the qualities of righteousness without being prudish and
combined with her impish sense of humour, she was indeed a 'special'
person. A partner to Kolitha in the true sense of the word, a
supportive and caring mother to her three children - Kavan, Sagala
and Tanu - a patient, loving grandmother to Krishen and Kavisha, and
a true friend to many of us who miss her dearly.
wife, Kshanika spared no pains to make Chandra comfortable in her
new home, which fact Chandra was unreserved in mentioning. He was
meticulously neat and orderly, and latterly her belongings were
reduced to bare necessities having given away practically everything
she considered unnecessary.
loss of Kolitha had a heavy toll on her. The decline was visibly
evident. A couple of times she even mentioned to me that she will
not be with us for long. I never encouraged her to dwell on this
topic and dismissed the subject with some Dhamma words, although
deep down I feared she could be right. Yet, I never expected it to
be so soon. I was so very glad that despite a busy period for me, I
spared the time to spend four peaceful days together in our
two-roomed meditation 'kuti' we had jointly invested at Ven.
Premasiri Thero's aspuwa just two weeks before she left us.
our last conversation just the day before she departed, Chandra said
she had 'let go' all her worries and concerns, and she was in a
contented state of mind. It was almost like she was preparing
herself for the end. She had no serious ailment and the end came
without distress. Although it came too soon for those of us she
left, I am glad she did not have to suffer through an illness.
all her goodness and merit accrued during this brief 'stopover' in
samsara, I know she has gone to a better place. Together with all
the merit and Dhamma I share with her, may the divine light guide
her to attain the ultimate peace of Nibbana.