: Why report on feasibility under wraps?
into operation the concept of a sea-lane connecting India's
west coast to its east through the Palk Straits has been
simmering in the minds of the Indian policy-makers for a
considerable time. Seen from an Indian point of view, saving
36 hours sailing time and 400 nautical miles by not having to
navigate around Sri Lanka would appear a reasonable proposal.
It will save costs.
However, in the context of
relationships between nations, there are a number of mutual
and international agreements that have to be taken into
account before deciding such a project. Apart from the legal
requirements, it should not be forgotten there are also
important norms of conduct such as mutual respect for the
territorial integrity of countries that may be adversely
affected as a result of such arbitrary decisions.
Let us analyse the adverse effects for
Sri Lanka that would result if the Sethusamudram canal project
were to be implemented by the Indian government. Initially,
the ecological aspects should be carefully studied with proper
data gathered to ascertain the various impacts of the project
for both countries - especially Sri Lanka.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
is of prime importance since there appears to be fear that Sri
Lanka, especially its northern and northwestern coastal belt,
will receive the bulk of the impact of coastal erosion and
possible subsidence affecting the islands, and the Mannar
areas with wave reflection, current, wind and tidal
difference. These can only be assessed if a proper study based
on data and models is made.
At present, Adams Bridge and the raised
level of the seabed provide a natural barrier between the
Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. This barrier also prevents
the ocean mix from the Bay of Bengal, which is a highly
polluted bay with rivers and the effluence of rivers, mixing
with the Indian Ocean and thereby having a disastrous effect
on a number of underwater species.
Further, the continental shelf between
India and Sri Lanka lies in that area and therefore, the cause
and effect of sea impact, erosion and wave reflection may
disturb the limestone shelf and the possible subsidence of the
adjoining islands and coast, right up to Chilaw, Puttlam and
Negombo commencing from Jaffna, the islands and Mannar.
India's sudden interest in constructing
a major, multi-million dollar project has to be viewed from
the amount of commercial benefit that would accrue to India.
The reasoning is based on the possibility of ships sailing
through the proposed canal instead of circling Sri Lanka
incurring loss of time and costing more.
The present surge in interest to
implement the Sethusamudram canal project is obviously
politically motivated with the Tamil Nadu ministers playing an
important role. This is apparently why the feasibility report
has been kept under wraps without being made public for the
affected parties to react to it.
It is reported that a considerable
number of Indians along the coastal fishing villages have
voiced concern about their safety and existence because of
this project. The voices of our own people who are likely to
be affected have not been, however, taken into account.
C. D. Chinnakone
facing the worst crisis in her history
Sri Lanka is currently facing the worst
crisis in her political history. With leaders who are
desperate to cling on to power at the risk of the sovereignty,
there doesn't seem to be too much hope for the citizens of Sri
Lanka who have put these politicians on a pedestal. Some have
become like the famous 'monkey with the razor' attacking and
hitting out in all directions! To hell with the country and
its stability; 'if only I could continue and win an
international award, or if I could only groom my next of kin?'
seems to be the message we are getting. Pathetic isn't it? We
are truly a doomed country inspite of being renowned as 'The
Pearl of the Indian Ocean.'
Leaders who use religion as a tool for
their survival, leaders who treat clergy who are considered
the guardians of the nation like third rate citizens of this
country, and who do not take advice 'because they know
everything' must keep in mind that they are the bane of this
A country that was known for its
harmony has been reduced to a warring state due to politics
and politicians. A country that had racial harmony has now
been reduced to racial warfare because terrorists are given
priority over the democratically elected parliamentary
A country that had religious harmony is
now being reduced to a country in religious turmoil because
invaders are permitted to destroy the existing religious
fabric of this country. All these activities are taking place
while the leaders are turning a blind eye for their own
selfish political survival.
Our country will prosper only if our
leaders are righteous and disciplined. The 16 dreams of King
Kosala during the time of the Buddha and the Buddha's
explanations for each of the 16 dreams are very revealing and
quite apt to describe our present predicament.
Dear leaders, it is still not too late
to understand and hear the cries of a nation. Please be humble
enough to accept that you have been put into such high posts
of governance to serve the entire nation and not to serve the
whims and fancies of the individual. May we witness a sincere
change in our country!
Prescription only drugs to be
prescribed must be registered with the Drug Authority.
Exempted are locally unavailable prescription drugs which can
be obtained on a licence to import those drugs for personal
use issued by the Drug Authority on an application made for
this purpose, supported by a prescription.
Despite these regulations, large
amounts of unregistered drugs - though not counterfeit - are
dispensed to fulfil doctor's prescription demand for them and
to satisfy patient's compliance consumption of them for
The Drug Act is passive in this context
to evade conflicting with the thereapeutic preferences of
prescribers based on their diagnosis.
In numerous instances the unregistered
drug makes its debut unobtrusively to impel the ostentatious
advent of the registered drug. Registration is a year long,
slow and time consuming process.
An unregistered drug is assumed to be a
counterfeit drug since it is not quality tested here. However,
random quality testing of batches of registered drugs does not
guarantee total stock quality, as is evidenced by the frequent
quality failures of stocks in circulation and their abrupt
withdrawal from sale.
Random quality testing of some of these
confiscated unregistered drugs revealed that they were not
Some of these essentially prescribed
still to be registered drugs are Tamsuosun, Cabergoline,
Gabapentin, Piracetam, Sodium and Calcium Resonium and
Sucralfate. Cardiologists persevere in prescribing
Trimetazidine, for angina, although registration for this drug
is being withheld.
great job well done
The Animal Welfare and Protection
Association together with the able services of the Veterinary
Clinical Sciences Department, Peradeniya University, conducted
a free neutering clinic for dogs and cats (both male and
female) at School Lane, Nawala on April 30. They were also
vaccinated against rabies.
The majority of the 60 odd dogs and
cats neutered were strays, rounded up by volunteers. Special
mention should be made of a lady vet in Rajagiriya who did
If this programme is supported and
continued in many different areas, stray dog and cat
populations will certainly dwindle and offspring will cease to
be dumped in garbage heaps, temples and homes of dog lovers.
People should be weaned of the idea
that it is sin to neuter an animal. Surely it is to be desired
rather than dumping them to exist until they are eventually
runover by a vehicle or devoured by another animal.
Kittens and puppies even have their
eyes plucked out by crows who even pull out their entrails
after pecking them to death.
Thanks to A.W.P.A. for a great job well
and arrogance of PT Dept.
It was reported in the media that the
Public Administration Minister has issued instructions to all
government departments and ministries to, in the first
instance, acknowledge receipt of letters sent by the public
within three days of receipt and thereafter send replies
without delay. That is a requirement in the administrative
regulations as well. However, it is rarely that this procedure
I am a settlor of two scholarships
awarded through the Public Trustee's Department. The manner in
which the scholarships are handled by the department is far
Having observed that the trust has lost
Rs. 10,000 as a result of the carelessness (wanton or
otherwise) of the staff handling the file (No. D/722/TR), I
addressed a letter to the Deputy Public Trustee (then Actg.
P.T.) on December 14, 2004, which letter was hand delivered at
his office. Then again, a second letter was sent on December
17, 2004 calling for certain information with regard to three
scholarships awarded earlier as I suspect there could be
overpayments. No replies have been received, nor
acknowledgment. A telephone call to the Deputy Public Trustee
was of no avail and his was a rude response.
Thereafter, a complaint dated January
19 was forwarded to the P.T. under registered post. Up-to date
there has been no response despite several reminders having
been sent. I finally wrote to the secretary, Buddha Sasana
Ministry but from there too, not even an acknowledgment has
Is this a cancer taking root in the
public service ? Or is it due to square pegs in round holes?
Mismanagement and discipline appear to be the order of the day
from the top to bottom in the public service.
I hope this letter will catch the eye
of the minister who will direct that a reply be sent to me at
Upali S. Jayasekera
pets well off
A cautionary notice seems to be in
order for people who want to hold protest marches. Those
taking part should be advised to take along with them gas
masks, soaps and towels.
These seem to have become a necessity
considering that there is more respect for Shahrukh Khan and
Pirapaharan than there is for Buddhism or Buddhist monks.
More money is being spent for
Presidential pets than for tsunami victims. Birthday bashes
are being held in England while tsunami victims are being
robbed of their parippu.
fantastic postal service
I have written several letters
regarding the inordinate delays in receiving local mail but
apparently they have missed the attention of those who should
have taken some corrective action.
On May 4, I received a notice posted
from Colombo on April 1 advising me to pay a bill before April
19. It has taken 23 days for the letter to come to Dehiwala
from Fort. In the May 4 mail there was also a letter which had
been posted on March 9 which has taken 54 days. This must be a
What action will the authorities take?
Probably the same action they have taken on the complaint I
made in December 2004 regarding the delay in my receiving
local mail. My letter was acknowledged by the Asst.
Superintendent (Liaison) on December 28, under reference QB/112/2004,
where he informed me that (a) my letter had been referred to
the office of the DSP and (b) that a reply will be sent to me
on completion of inquiries by that office.
I wonder whether the DSP had got down
Scotland Yard or the FBI to conduct these inquiries because I
have still not heard from him after nearly four months. Or
could it be that a reply has been posted but it is still on
its way to Dehiwala? This is the way public complaints are
Apparently, the minister in charge is
more concerned about his personal welfare and not interested
in the public and the PMG is asleep or scared to take any
action Ultimately, it is the public that has to suffer.
W. R. de Silva
A large group of academics and others
from many walks of life gathered at the Kanatte cemetery on Thursday
evening to say farewell to a distinguished Sri Lankan, Prof. P.P. G.
L. Siriwardene. Pips, as he was called by his friends and
colleagues, was a man with the Midas touch and lived a full and
happy 80 years. Born to an affluent family at Pelana at Weligama, he
was educated at S. Thomas' College where he had a distinguished
career and entered the Ceylon University, the only university at
that time in the country, where he obtained an honours degree in
chemistry and later obtained a PhD in metallurgy from Cambridge.
His long and distinguished career at
the Ceylon University culminated in his appointment as the vice
chancellor of the university. Prof. Siriwardene's academic
versatility is indicated by the many posts he was appointed to. Some
of them were: prof. of chemistry, director, Radio Isotope Centre,
vice chancellor, chairman, Ceylon Institute for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CISIR), director, Mineral Sands Corporation,
first chairman, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority, director, Cement
Corporation, director, Steel Corporation and fellow, Royal Society
On leaving the university he worked for
UNESCO managing UNDP and World Bank, Asian Bank and Commonwealth
Secretariat projects. He was also a chartered chemist and chartered
Pips however will be remembered most
for his role as a teacher. He involved himself in student welfare
activities and for long years served as the treasurer
of the Science Students' Union where he was less involved in
the finances and more in resolving student disputes and helping
students out of many 'scrapes.' Those were turbulent times and
student militancy was on the rise. With the Vice Chancellor, Sir
Nicholas Attygalle, the iron chancellor, who gave short shrift to
errant undergrads breaking rules, Pips became a friend, philosopher
and guide to students
Though his field was chemistry and
metallurgy (he lectured to the Engineering Faculty in metallurgy) he
involved himself with the activities of other faculties as well.
He was the invariable choice of the bio science students for
their annual trip to Horton Plains, ostensibly to collect specimens
. University students in those days if travelling on official
projects had to be accompanied by senior teachers and he was the
popular choice of one and all.
Students remembered him well and he too
remembered his students. I had not met him for nearly 40 years till
one day at the Orient Club an I saw a very familiar silhouette of
the dim distant past. It couldn't be PPGL, I said to myself but
walked up to him and said, "Hello sir." And instantly he
said, "Hello, Weerakoon." I certainly did not rank was a
good student to be remembered. But PPGL, it appears, remembered the
roses as well as the thorns of his past.
On retirement from UNESCO, he settled
down at Cambridge where his children were resident but frequently
turned up in Colombo and went back to his birth place, Pelana, which
he adored very much.
When the tsunami struck he returned to
the country and grieved at the damage and destruction caused
particularly to Pelena. Some of his students together with Sri
Lankan expatriates living in the United States inaugurated Project
Phoenix to reconstruct some of the damaged areas and chose him as
the head of the project. PPGL, however, wanted to do something
personally for his birth place and planned out the reconstruction of
the school at Pelana with
the addition of a
modern science laboratory. I am informed that his last act was to
get approval from the Education Ministry for the project and he was
delighted at the success he achieved.
His was a life without a blemish. His
friends, colleagues and students will always remember this six foot
one inch amiable giant, with affection and gratitude.
- Gamini Weerakoon