Clogged and hazardous drains

The introduction of the ‘People’s Forum’ column in your paper is heartening and gives much hope for the ignored side of social living problems.

Many of the long standing residents around School Avenue, off Station Road, Dehiwala remember the shortcomings pointed out here, which are 2-3 decades old.

A 3’X2’ gaping rectangular manhole (Telecom) on Boteju Avenue, off School Avenue, exposed for ages to the elements, seems to be simply breeding mosquitoes, apart from causing many bumps and jolts to vehicles passing by.
During heavy rainy spells, half of Station Road gets inundated due to a fully clogged manhole and drain at the very end of School Avenue. Residents have to wade through 2’ of water. Trishaw drivers refuse hires on this stretch too.
To add to all this, the ill-constructed drains jutting out at least 1 ½’ on to the centre of the road (a civil engineering misdemeanour) at both ends of the straight stretch of School Avenue are flooded during the rains.

The drain at Station Road, Dehiwala that is causing trouble

- W. Meadows, Dehiwala

The Chief Municipal Engineer, Dehiwela/ Mt. Lavinia Municipal Council said they would examine the area and take what action they could. For example, he explained that if a concrete manhole lid would suffice, the Municipal Council could attend to it. However, if an iron lid needs to be installed, they would request the PRDA (Provincial Road Development Authority) to attend to it as these lids are very costly.

The Executive Engineer, PRDA Moratuwa, Champika Kumalakaran, whom the People’s Forum contacted regarding this complaint, said that although the Dehiwala – Mount Lavina Municipal Council claims that it is the PRDA’s responsibility, the maintenance work, including the clearing of drainage systems have to be done by the Municipal Council. PRDA is in charge of construction of roads only, she said.

The complaint has been forwarded to the Area Technical Officer for inspection. She assured that any action that has to be taken on the part of PRDA will be taken immediately.

Difficulty in settling telephone bills

When the cashier at the Collection Centre Point Pedro of the Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd. is absent the subscribers, who call to settle telephone bills, have to go away disappointed. People have to go a second time to make the payments. This causes much inconvenience to subscribers. Would the authorities concerned take some action to rectify this shortcoming?
- An aggrieved subscriber

The Point Pedro SLT Collection Centre comes under the Jaffna Regional Telecom Office, the People’s Forum learns. However, when the Jaffna Regional Telecom Office Manager, N. Saravanabavam, was contacted, we were told that this issue would have come up during the time when the Cashier at the Point Pedro collection centre was on leave for three days. “But there is no such issue now and customers can make their payments,” the Manager told the People’s Forum.

Whither our NICs?

I am a resident of No. 44/5, Sagara Mawatha, Panadura. During a short vacation in 2004 July, I took the opportunity to apply for the renewal of my NIC, as well as my wife’s, as we had applied for a new NIC for my two sons aged 21 and 16. In order to forward the applications we spent two days collecting the necessary documents for submission.

We handed my NIC and my wife’s to the Grama Sevaka. On submission of the application, he gave us four slips of acknowledgement and said the cards would reach our address in due time.

Unfortunately, the 2004 tsunami engulfed our house and as a result these slips are no longer in our possession. Eight months later, only my NIC was received. When my brother-in-law inquired about the other NICs, the Grama Sevaka had vaguely replied that the documents had been misplaced. How is it possible, when we applied as a family at the same time, somewhere between July 1 and 10, 2004 that only my NIC has been received?

We reside in the U.A.E. and so we cannot handle the situation easily. These NICs are of great importance to us.
- G. H. B. Aponso

The Acting Divisional Secretary, Panadura Divisional Secretariat, requested that you write to the Divisional Secretary, regarding this matter so that he could make inquiries from the Grama Sevaka.

Refund of W and O. P.

I joined the C. G. R. in January 1944 as an underguard. I retired from service in April 1982 as Headguard CL 1. During this period, I had contributed towards the W and O. P. My wife died in July 1988. All my children are married and I have no dependents. I would like to know whether I am entitled for the refund of W and O. P.
- A. Somasundaram

The Officer in charge of W and O. P. says that since your wife died six years after you retired, you are not eligible for a refund of W and O. P. Refunds are given in cases where the dependent spouse dies before the retirement date of the officer concerned. In such cases, refunds are made for the contributions made during the period between the death of the spouse and the retirement of the officer making the contributions, if there are no children below 26 years.

Payment of W and O. P.

My wife was a teacher in the government service from 1952 – 1979. She died on July 5, 2000. She had not joined the W and O. P. scheme before she retired from service. I understand that now I would be eligible for her W and O. P., if I make all the contributions, which she hade not made. Please inform me whether I would be eligible for my widower’s pension.
- P. Wijayagoonesekera

The People’s Forum contacted the officer in charge of W and O. P. in this connection. She informed us that the W and O. P. Act came into effect on 1.8.1983. Spouses of those who were in service at that time, are eligible to pay the contributions and join the scheme. However, this facility has not been granted to the spouses of those who retired before 1.8.1983.

Several requests have been made in this regard and it may be allowed sometime in the future, although there is nothing definite as yet.

Renewal of NIC

Please enlighten me as to how to renew my national identity card, which was issued in 1974. I have no birth certificate, as it has been misplaced. I have been in government service and am now retired. I called for a copy of my birth certificate, but was told that it cannot be issued as folios have been damaged. I would like to know whether there is any other method through which I could get my identity card renewed.
- C. De S.Kuruwitage

The People’s Forum contacted the Commissioner, Registration of Persons regarding your question. The Commissioner informed us that you should meet the Grama Niladari of the area, who will give you the forms required to be completed with necessary instructions to apply for the renewal of your NIC.

If you have the original NIC issued to you, with information printed on it clearly legible, you do not have to submit a copy of your birth certificate, unless you request for a change in the information already printed on the NIC, such as date of birth, name, place of birth, etc. However, you are required to submit your original NIC along with your completed application for renewal of the NIC.

Lost NIC

Fareena Ziard, Matale – Please send us all details regarding your lost NIC for us to take up your case.

EPF delay

I submitted my papers as far back as 2000. Ever since then, I have been writing to the Commissioner of Labour, Colombo 3, on numerous occasions by registered post, and I regret to inform you that I did not even receive an acknowledgement for any of my letters.

According to their statements, the money is with the Central Bank now. I am now 86 years old and require money for my diabetes medication, etc.

I shall be very grateful if you could please help me, by requesting the Commissioner of Labour to send the Determination Letter to the Central Bank quickly.
- E. A. Aranwela

The People’s Forum forwarded your letter to the Commissioner of Labour. Having made inquiries, he said he was unable to trace your file. He says when the papers were handed over to them, you would have been given a card in receipt. He requests the following information to enable them to trace your file.

1. Their Reference Number given on the card you received
2. Your EPF Number
3. The Registered letter numbers of the letters you have sent them, if they are available

Please send the information to the Commissioner of Labour with a copy to us, if you would like us to follow up.

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