There have been
reports that the government is contemplating the holding of a referendum
on the current peace process.
What will be
the question the citizens will have to answer, yes or no? Will it
be: "Are you for peace or against peace"?
There is no
doubt what the answer will be. It will definitely be for peace.
Hence, such a referendum will be a waste of time and money. Instead,
the question should be: "Are you for peace on the basis of
giving into all the demands of the LTTE or against this?"
I for one will vote against, considering the brutality the LTTE
has inflicted on innocent people. I am sure a majority, whatever
their community or faith, will agree with me. While the people appreciate
the efforts of the government to resolve this problem, they request
the government to be cautious in spending money that the country
can ill-afford, in holding a referendum, unless policy is clearly
to ease Yala chaos
This is with
regard to the Hambantota correspondent's article on Yala (The Sunday
Times, April 20) which revealed the chaotic situation in Block I
with around 350 vehicles entering daily during the April holidays
and the lack of guides.
This is not
unusual. It has been a recurring problem since the late 1970s with
half the number of vehicles. Even then, it was considered a threat
to the wildlife.
the character and charm of Yala and also maintain capacity with
regard to people and vehicles, visitors will have to accept restrictions
with a well-planned internal transport system (coaches), especially
catering to foreign tourists to Block I, provided by the Department
Opening a new
sub-station with the necessary infrastructure and personnel at Kataragama,
to divert pilgrims to Block III and encouraging them to enter Block
I via Kataragama and not Palatupana has been tried out.
for guides at peak times in the morning and evening was great and
the administration imposed a quota system, restricting and staggering
the number of vehicles entering the park.
confusion and congestion. Above all there were guides to accompany
was in force from 1979 until the JVP uprising.
collection at Yala is enormous. The department can afford to have
a fleet of coaches for foreign tourists, who come in a large number
of private jeeps sometimes with only one or a couple in a jeep.
One coach could
carry the visitors coming in four or five jeeps.
congestion: Have Park and Ride transport
I read with
interest reports on a project to ease traffic congestion and systematise
commuter travel in the western region, particularly to and from
the city of Colombo.
The plan is
to introduce a circular, rapid rail transport system built as a
light, medium or heavy rail system.
to link the proposed circular transport system with the coastal
railroad and share the existing track of the Sri Lanka Railways
will pose some difficulties. To link the new system with the existing
railway, it will have to be constructed in broad gauge or the coastal
section will have to be provided a dual-gauge track.
As far as I
know, there is only one light railway in broad gauge in the world,
and this is in Barcelona, Spain.
light railways make use of the standart- cape-, meter- or narrow
gauge for which less land is required. I don't think any operator
would want to construct the circular rail transport system in broad
gauge, since he has to build several flyovers and longer sections
of elevated tracks on pillars.
There are also
plans to provide a staggered commuter service as in Bombay on the
south-western railway line.
If both transport
systems want to use the same track, at least a third track has to
be constructed from Ratmalana to Fort. For each broad gauge track
at least six metres of land would be needed.
track is not broad enough to carry a proper ballast profile to secure
and stabilize the existing dual line, built under the British for
a light weight steam railway and now used for a heavy diesel loco
hauled train system.
on this line is the section between Kompannaveediya and Fort as
well as Fort and Maradana.
The main question
will be, which land can be acquired to widen the track. Can the
unfinished Marine Drive project now over 30 years under construction,
be abandoned and the land given to the railway?
difficult projects, resources should be used to revamp the existing
rail transport system.
of Western Region Development should develop "Park and Ride"
transport plans like in other cities such Paris and Amsterdam to
carry commuters from the town to the suburbs.
Why not build
a new bus terminal and parking ground in Wadduwa and provide a fast
DMU train to Colombo-Fort and Maradana with staggered halts on the
route, every 15 minutes.
Do they know
the meaning of Vesak?
I have recently
seen articles in some of the newspapers that there is a proposal
to make Vesak 'celebrations' a tourist attraction. Apparently, this
is with a view to attracting not only Buddhist tourists but also
non-Buddhist, western tourists during this period.
The whole concept
is repugnant to me.
To me, Vesak
signifies a very special and sacred date in the Buddhist calendar.
A date on which I believe we should ponder and reflect on the teachings
of the Gauthama and more importantly their practical application
to our own lives.
I do hope that
sanity prevails and these ridiculous ideas are rejected, before
this special and sacred day of Vesak deteriorates even further.
has many programmes in Tamil including a film in the afternoon.
The control tower at Palaly helps ensure clarity.
has made these arrangements in the interest of viewers in the north
since the reception of Rupavahini and other stations is not good.
But the control
tower at Palaly seems to be manipulating the programmes, depriving
people in the north of Channel Eye programmes.
scheduled to be telecast are not screened. Instead English movies
Life is precious.
That is what all of us say and preach. If it is so precious, why
do we let tens of thousands of people die of starvation every year
in Africa while tons of wheat and mountains of butter are dumped
in the sea?
abortions are also carried out everyday in the world. More than
one million children under 5 die of starvation, malnutrition and
On the other
hand, the lives of victims of murder are less precious than those
of the murderers.
professionals, human rights activists and academics talk of the
irreversibility of the death penalty.
take into consideration the millions of lives lost through abortions
and starvation. Instead of trying to save one murderer, those who
consider life so precious should rush to save the lives of those
clogs the stretch of road from Homagama upto Station Road, which
continues as Athurugiriya Road.
the RDA made demarcations to widen the road, but lack of funds may
have hampered the project. It is hoped that Minister Bandula Guna-wardena
who represents the Homagama constituency and the Homagama Pradeshiya
Sabha Chairman would give serious consideration to widening this
Note of appreciation
This is a note
of appreciation to the Director and ICU staff of the Kurunegala
Hospital for treating my wife who was taken ill while on a trip
on April 18.
to the Editor' should be brief and to the point.
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