Pensioners please note
An amendment to the Widowers and Orphans Pension Act no. 24 of 1983
The above Act has been further amended to grant an option to those female
pensioners who had not joined the scheme earlier to join the scheme which
entitles their husbands and children to receive a pension after the death
of the female pensioner concerned.
The amendment reads as follows: "An officer holding office on the
appointed date may before such date as may be appointed for the purposes
of this subsection, by the Minister from time to time, by Notice published
in the Gazette, elect to a contributor to the Pension Scheme. Where any
such officer has died prior to the coming into force of this subsection
or dies before the date appointed for the purpose of this subsection without
making an election as aforesaid, she shall if she leaves a husband or child
or a husband and child or husband and children, be deemed to have elected
to be a contributor to the Pension Scheme.
Any person who elects to become a contributor under this subsection
or in the case of a person who is deemed to have elected to become a contributor
to the Pension Scheme under this subsection, the person administering the
estate of such deceased person, shall pay to the Pension Scheme in such
instalments as may be determined by the Minister by notice published in
the Gazette all arrears of contributions for the period commencing from
the appointed date until the date of election, retirement or death as the
case may be, with compound interest thereon at the rate of four per centum
Where a contributor or the person administering the estate of a deceased
contributor is unable to pay the arrears of contributions, such arrears
shall be recovered from the pension payable to the widower or orphans of
such contributor, in such instalments as may be determined by the Director.
I am employed in an organisation that works a five-day week. I work
in the consumer department which is open to customers for three hours every
Saturday. Could you please let me know how maternity leave would be calculated
in my case?
Labour Department officials say that according to the Shop and Office
Act, an employee is entitled to 84 working days as maternity leave for
the births of the first and second children plus the statutory holidays
and 1 1/2 days for each intervening week end. This works out to approximately
I am a pensioner. I have our marriage certificate and my wife's W &
O.P. certificate, but her birth certificate could not be traced. In the
event of my predeceasing my wife, please let me know whether she will be
entitled to her pension.
The Secretary and Accountant, W & O.P. at the Pensions Dept., says
that the birth certificate is not necessary to draw the W & O. pension.
The marriage certificate could be submitted along with the W & O.P.
number and other details to the Divisional Secretary of your wife's area
of residence when the need arises.
In the meantime, he says you could also send by registered post, a copy
of the marriage certificate and the W & O.P. membership number along
with a covering letter to the Secretary & Accountant, W & O.P,
Pension Department requesting the details to be included in your W &
O.P. file, Maligawatte.
I was an employee of the Trincomalee M.P.C.S. Ltd. When I was 58, I
fell ill and had to leave my job. I have been contributing to the E.P.F.
and E.T.F. under No. 445.
I would like to know whether I am entitled to any insurance and if so,
how I could get this money to pay for my treatment.
The officer concerned at ETF office says that there is a Hospitalisation
Medical Insurance Scheme for non-government personnel. But to get these
benefits one has to be in service. If you have been hospitalised before
you retired, you could submit the details for reimbursement to the ETF.
The application has to be made within one month of hospitalisation. Consideration
will however, be given up to about two months after the date.
I am 70 years old and have been trying to recover a few thousand rupees
lying to my credit at the EPF Dept. Repeated letters and visits have not
been fruitful. On my last visit to the office I was informed that due to
an error in my membership number, the papers have been sent to a branch
office at Horana for verification and that the claim will be settled soon.
That was 18 months ago.
In December 1999 I received the enclosed note from the Central Bank.
I shall be much obliged if you would please help me.
The Superintendent, EPF at the Central Bank says that your account has
been credited with the payment. However, to draw the money, you need to
make an application at the Labour Department on forms obtained from them.
They will forward the application to the Central Bank, after which the
payment will be made to you. So far they have not received your application
from the Labour Department.
You are OUT!
Listening to the commentary on the last day's play of the 1st Test match
between Sri Lanka and England, I was 'appalled' to hear the 'appalling'
comments by the commentators.
The question is: What is the role of a commentator? Is it to give a
commentary on the play with any other relevant information or to keep on
harping on the umpire's actions?
Comments such as "no way can that be given out" or "that
was an appalling decision" are not expected from commentators.
The commentators have the luxury of an air-conditioned cubicle and also
television facilities, which the umpire does not have. They have all the
time to have a look at the replay and find fault with the decisions taken
by the umpires.
One point that stuck out as a sore thumb was when the "pundits"
kept on repeating - with reference to the catch taken by Sangakkara off
Atherton - "if there was a doubt it should have been referred to the
I do not think we have to teach the English their own language, but
what these commentators failed to realise was that this was required only
if there was doubt.
Obviously, an umpire would rule a batsman out only when he has no doubt.
He will refer to the third umpire only when he has a doubt. It therefore
follows that if he has no doubt, he will not ask the third umpire.
The standard of umpiring is a different question altogether. There are
good umpires and bad umpires in that their judgement is good or poor.
But it is not for the commentator to give a judgement on this. May be
the match referee could report on the standard of umpiring.
A question I would like to ask these pundits who were commenting on
the umpires is:
"Have you ever umpired a cricket match?" If so, "Were
you always correct?"
Mr. Commentator do not be like the donkey who tried to do the dog's
job and got kicked for the effort.
W.R. de Silva
Coal should have come a decade ago
The news item 'CEB in dilemma over coal plant' (The Sunday Times, February
4) succinctly identifies all aspects of the problem.
The story demonstrates evidence of environmental mismanagement in setting
up a coal power plant,
Any textbook on environmental management would show the procedure to
be followed in development activities.
A good Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) needs to take into consideration
not only earth, air, water, animals and plants, but also the people, their
cultural and religious heritage and their daily activities.
An EIA generally leads to an Environment Management Plan (EMP), where
the mitigation measures are in place to reduce the impacts. Before the
EMP is finalised there are a few rounds of community consultation and a
public display of the draft plan. Naturally, the revisions will take into
account the concerns of the community, and introduce further measures.
Assessments and community consultations should be objective, transparent
and far from vested interests and political influence. All conflicts should
be amicably resolved and the process completed according to a time-table.
Coal power should have come to Sri Lanka about a decade ago. The best
site for a coal power plant is in the south, away from potential terrorist
attacks. The plant would provide employment to the southerners.
The emissions could be controlled with filters or other means and cooling
ponds could reduce the impact on fisheries.
CEB engineers should have worked closely with environmental scientists
(e.g. Department of Environmental Science, University of Colombo) throughout
CEB failed in community consultation, communication and public education,
and hence in developing a meaninful EMP. The inability to consider alternative
sites and approaches is a result of inadequate options in the Feasibility
A case study on the coal power plant in Sri Lanka, outlining the problems,
issues and procedures that should have been followed could be the subject
matter of an MSc. thesis in Environmental Science.
All Australian coal power plants have gone through this process.
Today all major development activities require an EIA, and minor activities
such as laying a pipeline require a review of environmental factors for
approval. In developing the 2000 Olympic site at Home Bush Bay, a team
of sociologists, ecologists and communicators managed the issues on industrial
contaminants and the endangered Green and Golden Bell frog at the site.
In Sri Lanka we need to establish good environment management procedures
If such procedures were in place, Mirisawatiya would never have been
plastered and "completed" and all factories will be operating
with a licence from the Central Environmental Authority.
Dr. Leonard Pinto
Cricket loverly cricket
The newspapers say we thrashed England by an innings in the Galle cricket
Test. I saw some of the play - thank God only a part.
Blatantly, incorrect decisions were made against England (and was it
a decision against ourselves?)
We are a hospitable people and have a tradition of kindness and benevolence
towards all visitors. Appealing for everything and nothing is not our way.
A newsphoto of an umpire giving an Englishman out, grinning in glee was
I am ashamed. I have lost interest in cricket.
Sir John's breakfast with Lankadeepa cartoonist
When Sir John Kotelawela visited the Girls' Farm School at Kundasale
in Kandy during his time, he had seen a few girls bathing a bull.
Sir John had silently watched the girls washing, scrubbing, brushing
and tenderly caring for the bull. The Farm Manager had told him that the
girls were bathing a stud bull. To this, Sir John had quipped, "I
wish I would become a stud bull in my next birth."
The next day's Lankadeepa had carried a cartoon of a bull having the
face of Sir John being bathed and scrubbed by farm girls with the caption,
"I wish I would become a stud bull in my next birth".
The same morning the cartoonist, G.S. Fernando, had been asked to report
at the Prime Minister's residence immediately. When he went to Kandawala
like an unwilling schoolboy, Sir John had been in a sarong. Seeing him
Sir John had held him by the hand saying, "Umbada G.S. Fernando kiyanne"
(Are you G.S. Fernando?). Then he had led him to the breakfast table and
served him with egg hoppers.
Over the meal Sir John had asked him about his family and how a cartoon
was drawn and printed in a newspaper. Later he had thanked him and sent
him back to the office in the Prime Minister's official car with the lion
Back at the newspaper office Fernando's colleagues had gathered round
him to find out what happened. When they were told that he had breakfast
with the Prime Minister they had been surprised, for they had expected
P.M.S.D staff to burn down Fernando's house.
That day Fernando had resolved never to draw such cartoons again to
embarrass a gentleman like Sir John.
How to recognise a Buddhist?
This is with reference to 'Who is a Buddhist?' (February 25), wherein
the writer seeks answers to many questions.
How can one recognize a person as a Buddhist?
It is not possible to recognize a Buddhist through labels such as birth.
A true Buddhist will gain spiritual development and lead a life according
to the teachings of Buddhism.
A person will not be a Buddhist for the mere reason that he goes to
the temple but follows other faiths, which are contrary to the teachings
of Lord Buddha. Understanding along with belief in the Triratna is vital
to be a true Buddhist.
What should a person do to be a good Buddhist?
A good Buddhist is a person who has sought refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma
and Sangha (Triratna). Seeking refuge means that the follower of the Triratna
recognizes that the Buddha is the teacher, the guide who will indicate
the path to the cessation of suffering.
This path is indicated by him in the Dhamma and the follower has to
have complete belief in the efficacy of this path.
He seeks refuge in the Sangha, in the complete belief that the Sangha
will teach him how to tread the path of deliverance, showing by example
how to do it.
As a Buddhist, should one criticize other religions?
We should not either criticize other religions or try to mix Buddhism
with other religions.
Could a person, who praises and respects other religious teachers, not
be a Buddhist?
A Buddhist should be certain of his stability in Buddhism while he praises
and respects other religions. Respecting other religions does not mean
that a Buddhist should follow other religions.
A true Buddhist has no need to follow any other religion or seek refuge
in gods or deities.
He need not go to kovils or churches or mosques or any other places
of worship than Buddhist temples and sacred places to receive guidance
in progressing towards Nibbana.
A true Buddhist should keep his eyes open and have a questioning mind.
He should maintain focus on the Eight-fold Path.
Nirvana, the ultimate aspiration of Buddhists, is not a mystic state
but one in which the mind is purged and purified of ego-conceit and traces
of attachment/greed, aversion/hatred, and delusion.
Buddhism is not something that has been revealed from heaven to fulfil
a divine purpose, but something that has grown up on earth to satisfy the
deepest of human needs.
It is not based on divine revelation but on human discovery.
Buddhism is not dependent on blind faith and worship but on the understanding
of experience through the use of human intelligence.
It is not based on history or a story, which if proved false would tumble,
but stands on the hard rock of direct personal experience.
The practice of Buddhism is not based on the idea of punishment and
reward, but on selflessness and love, nor is it following the commandments
of a creator, but basing one's actions on a feeling of responsibility for
oneself and others.
Buddhism also does not regard man as a sinner who is incapable of anything
better than appealing to the creator for forgiveness.
It regards man as capable of rising above all human weaknesses and cultivating
a divine mind through his own efforts.
One cannot be saved by any external means but has to save oneself through
one's own efforts.
Pilgrims don't progress
Various impediments discourage pilgrims from visiting sacred Dambadiva
in Nepal and India.
Around 12,000 Sri Lankans visit Dambadiva every year, of which 85% are
from the middle and lower income groups. They venture out on this journey
taking with them cooked and dry provisions from Sri Lanka. They do their
own cooking and consume the food in the places they stay overnight and
at halts on the way.
The long train and bus journey, which causes much hardship, is undertaken
to minimise the cost. Most pilgrims use a lifetime's savings or borrow
from children to visit these shrines.
A majority of Sri Lankans cross the Indian border to visit Lumbini,
in Nepal where Prince Siddhartha was born. They spend only about four hours
in Lumbini and get back to India to continue their pilgrimage. One reason,
perhaps, may be the lack of a pilgrims' rest for an overnight stay at Lumbini.
However, the visa-fee charged by Nepal is a high Rs. 3100 per pilgrim.
Now most pilgrims are compelled to worship Lumbini just by looking in its
direction from the Indian border, as they cannot afford to pay the visa
A few years ago visas were given to Sri Lankan pilgrims gratis, on production
of a letter from the Buddha Sasana Ministry for a service charge of Rs.150.
The Indian fee too has been increased from Rs. 440 to Rs. 510 for a
double entry visa, which appears to be comparatively reasonable. From last
month, the Indian archaeological authorities have imposed an entrance fee
to be paid in dollars at all Buddhist places of worship, which were hitherto
free of charge. They vary from $5-10 and total $60 inclusive of the Taj
Mahal which is a world wonder and a must-see.
Oil price hikes and the devaluation of the rupee have resulted in pilgrims
having to pay more for the airfare, ground transportation and hotel charges.
It has now become an impossible dream for the vast majority of Buddhist
pilgrims in retirement, middle and lower income groups to undertake this
The government should take these issues into consideration. As we are
part of SAARC, Sri Lanka should urge India not to charge a fee to enter
Buddhist archaeological sites.