Show more respect to the workers who are our biggest foreign exchange earners The single largest contributor to Foreign Exchange Earnings is the worker remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. But the question is are the authorities treating these Sri Lankans with due respect? Are they being treated reasonably? If these workers are the biggest [...]


Letters to the Editor


Show more respect to the workers who are our biggest foreign exchange earners

The single largest contributor to Foreign Exchange Earnings is the worker remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. But the question is are the authorities treating these Sri Lankans with due respect? Are they being treated reasonably? If these workers are the biggest contributors to our Forex, no doubt they should be given top priority in every possible way and treated as very important people of the country. But it seems this is not so.

I suggest the following when they return to Sri Lanka for good depending on how much they have remitted as Forex to Sri Lanka:

1. The Government should consider giving them a vehicle permit.

2. They should be granted financial loans on a low interest rate to enable them to build a new house, renovate their existing house, start a new business, or an industry.

3. They should be given free public transport for a certain number of years.

4. Their children should be given priority when it comes to the school admission issue.

5. Duty free concessions should be increased for these workers.

6. Their welfare and interest should be looked into at all times during their stay and work abroad.

B. Joseph  Hendala – Wattala

Dairy debacle: A full probe is necessary

I have seen numerous articles in the media about the ill conceived plan to import European dairy cows to be sold to local farmers. While the decision to suspend it is commendable, nothing short of stopping this disastrous project will do.

I wrote to the Director General of Animal Production and Health asking how they would approve these importations, knowing fully well that these animals would not adapt and be productive in Sri Lanka. I have not heard back.

I worked in the Department for 20 years and managed importation of cattle and Buffaloes. I managed large dairy farms in Bopatalawa and Polonnaruwa. On one occasion I went to Australia to inspect a consignment of heifers and found they did not meet our specifications. I recommended that the contract should be cancelled and my Director endorsed my decision, much to the disappointment of the supplier and the State agricultural authorities.

This is the wrong approach to dairy development. The morbidity and mortality rates among these cattle will send the wrong message to small farmers, besides incurring financial losses.

I would strongly urge the government to fully investigate this unfortunate debacle. At the same time it is important to look at the overall national dairy development strategy, taking into account the realities in the country.

Sam Pillai  Toronto, Canada

Finding alternatives to ease traffic on Mahavidyala Mawatha

Mahavidyala Mawatha is a main road which has light and heavy vehicles, containers, particularly Pettah bound buses, passing by the hundreds every day. This road leads to five government schools and is also a hardware commercial hub apart from being densely populated. Vehicles enter this road from Abdul Jabbar Mawatha (AJM) continuously, except on holidays, creating a traffic block that continues as more vehicles flow in after the ‘green light’ signal from Armour Street junction. The traffic branch of the relevant police stations will vouch for this fact.

There are a couple of policemen only during school hours to deal with the situation and they too find it a difficult task. This has been going on for decades as restriction of the movements of vehicles, specially coming from the Aluthkade areas, are not adjusted accordingly to suit the present situation. Neither the CMC nor the past Traffic Police Chief took any action.

Vehicles starting from Hulftsdorp use Messenger Street to enter Sumanatissa Mawatha and others enter Mahavidyala Mawatha to go to Kotahena or Armour Street. It is from these points the blocks begin.

Messenger Street is narrow and is a two-way road while Old Moor Street (OMS) is wider and is one-way to enter AJM. Most vehicles that need to enter Sumanatissa Mw, or even to proceed to Kotahena, could be sent through this OMS making it a two-way road. By this arrangement, most of the vehicles need not head towards Mahavidyala Mawatha and increase the volume of vehicles. Messenger Street displays one side parking notice and OMS does not have it.

I firmly believe the present Traffic DIG should visit this place, spend some time during noon and evening hours, witness the situation for himself and consider my suggestion to ease the traffic congestion to a certain extent. Another alternative is to stop vehicles entering OMS through Sumanatissa Mawatha to enter AJM, they could use Bandaranayake Mw, – the one-way to enter AJM, and then to open OMS for vehicles to reach Sumanatissa Mw. If possible to make OMS a two-way road as it is a wider road than Messenger St. which is already a two-way.

Nazly Cassim  Colombo 13

Finally some action

Following a letter to the Editor along with the picture( above left) published on February 3 under the headline “Who will clean this?’ action has been taken to clean the clogged roadside drain (above right) at Hena Road, Mount Lavinia” writes a resident of the area.

Providing edible waste to elephants: Answer to human elephant conflict

I do not wish to elaborate on the Human Elephant Conflict.  My suggestion for this problem is to provide food and water to elephants in their own habitat.

1. Food, such as agricultural waste (vegetables, fruits, paddy, rice, etc. which are not for human consumption, various types of plants, leaves, etc.) could be air-lifted by helicopters and or light aircraft to the forest areas where elephant herds normally live. Food collection centres could be set up in suitable locations. Villagers will also assist in food collection.

2. When elephants are able to find their food in their own habitats, they will not venture out in search of food.

3. As regards water, suitable lowlying areas in the jungles could be transformed as medium size lakes/ponds.

4. This may look like a costly operation, but when looking at this perennial problem where human lives are at risk, not to mention the loss of agricultural produce and the complete and partial damages to a large number of homes in many parts of the country, it may be worthwhile looking at this suggestion.

5. Expensive electric fences (costing nearly Rs. 300 million a year for maintenance) which injure elephants will not be necessary.

6.  Costly constructions to prevent elephants crossing railway tracks can be avoided.

7. Medical treatment to elephants and deaths and injuries due to shooting and other dangerous methods used to drive away elephants, could be avoided.

8. The Sri Lanka Air Force could play a major role here.

9. Tourists may be taken in these aircrafts which might be a means of an income.

10.This is an eco-friendly suggestion where a large quantity of edible waste, free from harmful after effects to elephants could also be disposed of in a fruitful manner.

D. Leslie Fernando  Colombo 6.

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