Coughing out
Nearly 20,000 men in a State service arm have been called upon to cough out a day's pay. The purpose is a highly noble one though it is a vow of the chief.

There is no one raising issue over that religious cause or the merit the boss may accrue.

However, what has angered some is the way the chief has set about raising the money required. Instead of calling for voluntary contributions, he has ordered that a day's salary be deducted pronto. He has made it known that only those who are opposed to the deduction should make their objections known.

Though some do not like the move purely due to financial reasons including problems of making ends meet say they would rather starve than object. They say they do not want to be "marked men."

In the name of security
Even if they are not remotely conversant with security, some officials appointed to coveted jobs revolving around the subject have the absolute power to violate procedures willy nilly.

With powerful political connections, their word is the key, if it concerns the security of vital installations and state property.

But there are no such privileges for others, like for example men from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the coveted investigation arm of the Police Department.

Recently, CID sleuths investigating the murder of journalist Nimalrajan, wanted to bring to Colombo a pistol allegedly used in the shooting. They had taken custody of it from the Army that is said to have once issued the weapon to members of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP).

It was securely sealed in a package. When the sleuths arrived at the Palaly airport with it, they were asked by Air Force personnel to reveal what was in the package. Quite rightly so, one would say, for security checks are necessary to ensure the safety of the SLAF aircraft in which the CID men and the weapon were to be transported.

The CID men readily obliged. This is despite their having to be very clinical when it came to productions connected with investigations. What a difference !!

Naval vessels in exercise
Even if they have not been out on deep sea operations to counter attempts to smuggle weapons into Sri Lanka, the Navy's two ocean going vessels SLNS "Sayura" (the former Indian Offshore Patrol Vessel) and SLNS "Suranimala" (a former Israeli Fast Missile Vessel - FMV) will head this week for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Commanded by a senior officer, the two vessels are taking part in 'Milan 2003' in Port Blair - the joint Naval exercise in the Indian Ocean.


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