Sickening state of affairs at private hospitals Many private hospitals in Colombo and other areas are flourishing as government hospitals are crowded and, in some instances, they do not even have essential drugs. But sadly, private hospitals have become a law unto themselves. When a patient is admitted even for minor treatment, he is subjected [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka



Sickening state of affairs at private hospitals

Many private hospitals in Colombo and other areas are flourishing as government hospitals are crowded and, in some instances, they do not even have essential drugs.

But sadly, private hospitals have become a law unto themselves. When a patient is admitted even for minor treatment, he is subjected to several tests. When the bill is presented to him, he sees stars.

Even in the case of a pregnant woman entering for normal delivery, the hospital charges, doctors’ fees, the admission fee and other charges top Rs. 100,000. If the use of the theatre is involved another Rs. 100,000 would be added to the bill.

In the case of a patient admitted to the ICU after complaints of a chest pain, hundreds of thousands of rupees are being charged. This happens “more as a rule” than exception.

In addition, doctors and specialists have raised their fees, adding a further burden to a patient.

I appeal to the authorities concerned to take necessary steps to review the rates charged by the hospitals, labs and doctors’ fees as they have become extremely exorbitant.

M.N. Mohamed

City traffic snarls unbearable

Although we experience and discuss heavy traffic in the Western Province it appears that no one is concerned about taking any remedial action.

Now it takes over one hour to travel 10 kilometres from any direction to Colombo. The time and fuel wasted is colossal.
Here are a few short term suggestions to ease city traffic:

Government offices to start work at 7.30 a.m. and close at 4 p.m., allowing half an hour for lunch. Banks and other mercantile establishments to open at 9.00 a.m. Pettah traders to open at 10.00 a.m..

As a long term solution the Government could think of decentralizing the Government departments sending them to 25 districts. Except the finance ministry there is no reason why other departments should operate from Colombo.

President Premadasa commenced sending Government departments to districts starting with Fisheries to Trincomalee. There was much resistance from the top executives and the day after Premadasa died they shifted to Colombo.

If no action is taken fast, very soon city traffic will come to a standstill.

G. Weerasinghe
Via email

Time to reintroduce time chart for container traffic

Traffic congestion during office and school hours in Colombo and in the main towns delays schoolgoing children. After school it takes two to three hours for them to reach home.

About 33 years ago we had the same traffic congestion problems during President J.R. Jayewardene’s time, when containerised transport was introduced worldwide in 1982.

Colombo was a small hub at that time and when containerised transportation began in Colombo, the Trade and Shipping Ministry under the late Minister Lalith Athulathmudali, consulted the main body of the Trade Shippers Council, Importers Associations, Customs, Port Authority and Transport and Ministry of Industries and reached an agreement to solve the traffic congestion.

Until the new extra roads were built from the Colombo port to Colombo 14, the decision was to stop container traffic coming in to Colombo 1, 2, 10 and 13.

The introduction of an alternative time for movement of heavy and container vehicles and a time to commence work, shops, supermarkets and schools was a big relief to people, reducing the cost of fuel and saving precious time.

The time chart was as follows:
1) Weekdays – Heavy vehicle and container movement restrictions from A) 6.30 a.m. to 9 a.m . B) 12 noon to 2 p.m. C) 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in and around the city/ provinces, to allow schoolchildren and office workers to travel freely in the morning during this time.

2) Schools to start at 7.30 a.m. – Government Departments at 8 a.m., private companies at 8.30 a.m., offices and shops at 9 a.m. and supermarkets at 10 a.m.

3) Kindergarten schools to close at 12 noon and Higher Classes at 1.30 pm.

4) Government Departments to close at 4.15 or 4.30 p.m. and companies at 5.00 or 5.30pm.

This made a big difference in traffic movement and it was an effective and successful project. President R. Premadasa and his secretary Mr. Paskaralingam took this system forward. But after the new road was built this system was abandoned.

Wesley Moses

Sorry plight of the gate-keepers of the Railway Dept.

I refer to the two pictures in the Sunday Times of November 15 showing two sheds providing accommodation to two railway gate-keepers.

It is unlikely, that the administrative officers and the GMR would not have seen them. I presume they regularly travel the lines to see for themselves the conditions of the railway-stations, and to observe the efficient service of the ‘gate-keepers’.

The accidents which take place at level-crossings have been too numerous in the recent past for them not to have taken special notice of some inadequacy in that service provided by them.

The accommodation provided to the gate-keepers as seen in those pictures is disgusting, and they have said that prior warning is not given to them of an approaching train; it seems they get active only when they see a train approaching, to lower the bamboo-bar or as shown in one picture to hold it across the road: someone would have said ‘go tell it the marines’, because it seems so unbelievable.

One would be really shocked to have seen that such primitive conditions exist in this country 67 years after independence.

I suppose the Minister and the GMR are not waiting for an International Monetary Fund dollar loan to provide at least a decent lean-to roof and at least a mobile phone or some facility to inform the gate-keepers of an approaching train.

What is involved is not only some decent accommodation, providing an adequate early information system, but also most importantly to safeguard the lives of human beings lost through negligence of drivers, riders, and the gate-keepers not having adequate notice of approaching trains to do their primary duty.

It would be imperative for the minister concerned, and the GMR to take some immediate action to rectify the pathetic conditions shown in the pictures, and to provide advance information to those workmen on whose service the lives of some road users would depend.

Haris de Silva
Via email

Monkey menace in Ratmalana

For about 10 years, monkeys have been frequenting the Ratmalana Airport area. This nuisance has increased over the years and now become a huge problem.

They have gradually widened the area they roam and are coming daily into areas where houses are located.

We have had to replace our TV cable twice. This is a costly exercise as well and needs co-ordination for those of us who work, in order to arrange a convenient day with the service provider, to come when we are at home, to replace the chewed up wires.

They are becoming a nuisance, breaking tiles, expensive roofing sheets, stealing and damaging home grown fruit and vegetables, carefully grown without any chemicals such as weedicides or pesticides and robbing and messing up our gardens.

All the windows and doors have to be kept shut even in the stifling heat when they are around. They damage government property too, eating electrical wires etc.

As comical and interesting as they are, we need to address this issue, before it becomes too big a problem to handle. Our country is over populated as it is, without the increase of these animals as well, running wild. The increase of wildlife of any kind where there are humans can become a menace to society.

We sincerely hope that the President who is also the Minister of Environment, and the Municipal Council of Dehiwala/Mount Lavinia and other relevant authorities will take immediate action to eradicate this menace immediately before it goes beyond control.

R. Albert

Letters to the Editor

‘Letters to the Editor’ should be brief and to the point.
Send them to:
‘Letters to the Editor
’The Sunday Times,
P.O. Box 1136, Colombo.

Please note that letters cannot be acknowledged or returned

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.