pays for the cost of those deaths on our roads?
During the past so many years, the incidence of road accidents and
correspondingly, the number who die or are maimed on the roads,
have increased continuously. One of the most recent, in Kurunegala,
had cost four lives-two schoolgirls, a woman, and the mother of
one of the schoolgirls, who, apparently, had died of shock.
is the cost of such a death? Briefly, the loss of a life; the emotional
cost-a 'void' in the family felt by the bereaved for the rest of
their lives; a loss by way of foregoing educational opportunities
leading to employment, which would have improved family well-being;
and the loss of a child who would have helped look after the aged
parents, as is our tradition.
a woman is concerned, the irreplaceable loss of a wife and mother,
and may be even a breadwinner. Apart from these costs to the family,
these accidents are also a cost to the community. Police officers
have to be deployed to carry out investigations, and hospital resources
used for treatment-even for surgery and ICU facilities. Local government
authorities provide donations (Rs. 10,000/- each in this case) to
the bereaved, from their limited funds. All these are costs to the
taxpayers of this poor country.
the other hand, what is the liability borne by those directly responsible
for such accidents-the drivers and the owners of the vehicles? More
often than not, the driver would be bailed out by family or vehicle
owner, and after prosecution, perhaps go scot-free for lack of evidence.
are reluctant to come forward as witnesses partly due to the intimidatory
tactics adopted by the agents of the drivers/vehicle owners. Witnesses
fear, more than danger to self, the victimization of innocent family
members, as is the trend nowadays.
is imperative therefore, to revise the law and enforce a scheme
whereby both the driver and the vehicle owner would have to bear
liability for such loss of life, by way of a substantial amount
of money so as to make them feel the pinch; the one for his recklessness
and disregard of road rules, the other for his callousness in entrusting
vehicles to persons not properly qualified and experienced.
It would eventually act as a deterrent to such irresponsible behaviour.
time to net in these barbaric acts
On July 3, about half a dozen CMC dog catchers were in action at
the Ward Place end of Borella Junction. This was inspite of the
fact that the Mayor had agreed to treat these animals humanely and
desist from cruelly gassing them unless absolutely necessary.
is known that only two cases of rabies have been officially recorded
for this year in the city.
The Borella bath kade cum hotel, situated about a 100 yards from
Ward Place had a female dog with two bouncing puppies.
animals used to play in the lane opposite the hotel, and were admired
by all in the area.
The dog catchers came and flung the little ones like garbage into
the van after which they netted the mother.
protests that they were not strays, they were taken to the gas chambers.
Unable to bear the agony, the hotel owners claimed the mother and
pups from the Dog Pound, and were asked to come on July 3.
advance of Rs. 250 had been charged for food, their food being pieces
of throw-aways from the Abattoir .
When they visited the place they were told that the pups had been
killed as they were kept with rabid animals, while the mother was
in another cage. What brutality?
there be a simple rule that other dogs should not be caged with
I tried my best to get Mohamed Ijas, the Dog Pound Chief, but was
told he was on leave.
people complain regularly about cruelty the Mayor appears to be
powerless, or is he aloof? It is time the good Mayor put a stop
to this barbaric behaviour.
standards and need for deterrents
Since gaining Independence in 1948, Sri Lankans have experienced
declining standards in all areas. One has to only read the newspapers
to see how serious this problem has become.
the leaders who negotiated our Independence from the British imagine
that a pitched battle would take place in Parliament and that the
mace will disappear even temporarily from the House?
suggestion is that an IQ test should be made compulsory for all
candidates who stand for election. This should be after checking
if they have a criminal record.
idea that crime begets punishment also needs to be revived.
let students decide when to open university
I read with interest the letter in the national press by a "disgusted
parent" regarding the opening of the Jayewardenepura University.
A majority of us are not involved in the violence or student unrest.
It is only a minority. As usual the militant minority seems to be
in control at the expense of the majority.
students want to finish our examinations on time. Already our batches
in other universities have overtaken us. Why do we have to suffer
like this? It is frustrating, demotivating and causes economic hardship
university authorities must be more responsible and open the institution
for studies immediately. The government, from the President downwards
must give priority to education. As a student, I am appealing to
them to act soon. As stated by the "disgusted parent"
the authorities should not wait for students to decide when to open
An affected student
those who retired in 2002 & 2003
It has been reported that the President has decided to implement
the recommendations made by the Tissa Devendra Salaries Commission
report soon. Although belated, it is commendable indeed, but one
wonders whether the recommendations will be implemented with retrospective
effect as the President appointed this salary revision committee
interim report was issued in 2001 and the final report was published
In 2002, but the much awaited pay hike was never granted by the
then UNP Government, on the flimsy excuse that the committee had
recommended to reduce the number of public servants by nearly half,
which definitely, it had not. This salary revision report is one
of the most comprehensive ones ever issued, giving substantial salary
increases to all in the public service.
this regard, I think it is not unreasonable if due consideration
is given to the plight of those public servants who opted to retire
during 2002 and 2003 in sheer frustration after desperately waiting
for seven years for a salary increase. The recent pension circular
is applicable only to those who retired prior to 1997 but for others
there is nothing.
such, it will be appreciated if the recommendations of the Tissa
Devendra report are implemented from the date they were issued so
that this unfortunate lot can also benefit.
to the Editor' should be brief and to the point.
Address them to:
'Letters to the Editor,
The Sunday Times,
P.O.Box 1136, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Or e-mail to
Please note that letters cannot be acknowledged or returned.