Letters to the Editor
19th March 2000
The Mayor of Colombo and his officials have to be congratulated on a splendid job at the Galle Face Green.
Vast improvements have taken place at the green for the convenience of the public. The promenade has been tarred and now users of the green can walk with ease and comfort. Elders and children gather at the green during week-ends for relaxation and amusement.
Well Mr. Mayor keep it up and continue to clean up all such places the public makes use of.
With the New Year less than a month away it is time to think of lighting crackers and time too to take stock of their bad effects.
First comes danger by fire. Children are sometimes blinded or suffer grievous damage to the eyes. Severe burns are caused by dresses catching fire. In the villages, poor folk sometimes lose their homes due to "Ahaskooru" (shooting crackers) falling on thatched roofs.
Air pollution comes next. Phosphorous fumes linger in the air due to non- stop lighting of crackers at all auspicious times. This is unhealthy. Babies and patients with lung diseases are most apt to suffer.
The deafening sound of "Alidon" and the "Three cornered" giant crackers is the worst nuisance. Little children are so frightened that some cower in bed with pillows over their heads to shut out the noise. What agony!
Pets at home, mostly dogs go into hiding during the celebrations.
They are so frightened they creep under beds and rarely come out even for meals.
Have you watched the birds' ordeal? They almost get thrown off the branches for the shock, chirping loudly. And just as they settle down, bang! it goes again. I am sure many who light these extra-loud crackers are not aware of the cruelty they cause to pets and birds.
Crackers being freely available, they are lit at various times; at funerals, weddings, on winning a match and in some areas even to drive away monkeys.
Lighting crackers has gone on for ages with children and even adults enjoying the fun.
Earlier we imported crackers from China. These were mild and did not cause any injuries. The problem now is that they are far too loud and powerful.
I appeal to the government, to take action immediately to ban the sale and manufacture of loud and unsafe crackers. To ban the lighting of loud crackers after selling them to the public is meaningless.
It is sad to see the ancient Dutch canal running from Puttalam to Colombo through Negombo in such a pitiful state. It has historical value and many tourists from the Netherlands visiting Sri Lanka would like to see it, but not in its present state. The entire canal is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a health hazard to those like us living along its banks.
We understand that the Dutch government did grant large sums of money for the restoration of the canal to its ancient glory and also provide a useful means of transport. We residents would like to know whether the Dutch government is still releasing funds for the project. If so, the Dutch government should send a review team.
The canal built to help the people is now causing much anxiety and fear, as even a small shower of rain makes the canal overflow its banks.
G. A. de Silva, D. Dissanayake, Ranjan Gunasekera, E. L. Jayamanna,
P. Rupesinghe, S. Fernando and Turin Abeysinghe
The Sunday Times of March 5 has given prominence to the annual human rights report prepared by the US State Dept., which says the LTTE and the militant group PLOTE have been guilty of a large number of disappearances in Sri Lanka.
Everyone knows of the abuses committed by the LTTE, but the abuses by PLOTE have not been reported extensively.
As a long-time resident of Vavuniya I am aware of its unlawful activities. It has taken the law into its own hands and the rule of law is non-existent in Vavuniya. Houses are forcibly occupied, electricity tapped illegally, money extorted from traders and encroachments made on private land.
No complaints can be made to the police for fear of reprisals and the police too are helpless, because the Govt., is not keen to enforce the law as they depend on the votes of PLOTE MPs for survival.
The leaders of Plote are comfortably settled in Colombo and pretend not to know what is happening in Vavuniya. They occasionally pontificate on such issues as the 'harassment of Tamils' in Colombo, while conveniently forgetting that their own cadres are doing worse things against Tamils in Vavuniya.
A Vauniya resident
Only the President enjoys immunity before the law under the Constitution. All others including government officers, irrespective of their position stand equal under the law of the land.
In this context, following the summoning of a senior police officer in Kandy for abusing a judge, it was reported in the newspapers that police officers in the Kandy area did not attend courts to provide security for the judges as well as the courts. This smacks of revenge.
Judges enjoy a prestigious position in society and if the police officers behave in this manner towards judges what sort of treatment can the poor man in the street expect?
Police officers are no doubt over burdened with various duties including security and may thereby have become frustrated.
May I suggest that the Minister of Justice appoints a separate security force like the Presidential Security Division to provide security for courts and judges.
Austin D. Jayaweera
Why should dogs be killed? The main reason we have so many strays is because of improper garbage disposal. Animals will stay where there is food. If there isn't food, they will go in search of it. No animal dies of hunger, rather they have an instinct for finding food for survival.
Meanwhile, Kandy District, especially village areas swarm with hogs. No one seems to be bothered. They destroy crops, dig huge holes in gardens and even attack human beings. In areas like Akurana, they come out in their hundreds after dark. People fear to get out on the road.
Repeated calls to the MOH, Municipality and health authorities have fallen on deaf ears. Would someone take notice and do something before this becomes a more serious problem?
Dr. Mrs. Mareena Rafai,
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