Plus - Letters to the editor

Time for action: People of Kelaniya have had enough of Mervyn Silva and his antics

As expected, things have come to head, with the much talked about Minister Mervyn Silva and Urban Council local politicians locking horns. The local politicians say they cannot tolerate any longer the thuggery and intimidation of Mervyn Silva, although they supported Mervyn Silva at the General Elections – for the sake of the party he represents.

The question to ask is why the SLFP hierarchy appointed Mervyn Silva as SLFP Organiser for the Kelaniya Electorate? As a long-standing voter of this electorate, I assumed that when Sooriya Arachchi crossed over, along with Mangala Samaraweera, the SLFP leadership wanted a man of the calibre of Mervyn Silva to face Sooriya Arachchi, who was a formidable opponent, with muscle as well.

Mervyn Silva was fortunate to have Minister Basil Rajapaksa as the Organizer for Gampaha District, to which the Kelaniya electorate belongs. As one Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha member said, all development works were the initiative of Minister Basil Rajapaksa, although Mervyn Silva tries to take the credit.

Mervyn Silva rode high and continues to ride high, tying public servants to trees, closing down shops at his will for non-payment of taxes (a responsibility of the local authority), breaking down walls, and imposing toll taxes. These are just a few of the things we have heard. There may be many more.

This tomfoolery must stop and the Pradeshiya Sabha must be given a decent hearing by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The state should grant their request to have another SLFP organiser appointed. This is also the wish of the entire spectrum of respectable, peace-loving citizens of Kelaniya.

I personally face embarrassing situations when I say I am from Peliyagoda, a prosperous town in the Kelaniya electorate. The spontaneous response I get is: “Oh, your MP is well known for his thuggery and his claims to have connections and friends in the underworld.”

On TV, the SLFP Women’s Organiser said all women in the Kelaniya electorate support Mervyn Silva. That is purely her imagination. It is also disheartening to see and hear a Buddhist monk extolling on TV the “virtues of Mervyn”, when the whole country, supported by editorials in the newspapers, condemn with one voice the actions, attitude and language used by Mervyn Silva.

Mervyn Silva should know that Kelaniya is a sacred place. The Lord Buddha visited Kelaniya, according to history,. It is sacrilege for a person of Mervyn Silva’s behaviour to represent this hallowed electorate.

We earnestly hope that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will give the Pradeshiya members a close and serious hearing, and not make the Pradeshiya Sabha meeting another episode like the findings of the three wise men of the SLFP who inquired into the tying up of a public officer to a tree. In that episode, the SLFP investigative team gleefully declared that it was all a “staged drama.”

The wishes of the people of Kelaniya should not be treated as a joke. The Kelaniya people are waiting to see fruitful results, as much as the entire nation. We hope President Mahinda Rajapaksa will not fail us. Mervyn Silva should not be allowed to tarnish the good name of the Rajapaksas and that of this popular government.

Mary G. Tissera, Peliyagoda

Shocking inefficiency at J’pura campus

The students of Sri Jayawardenapura University are agitating for a change of administration. This seems quite right in the light of the following circumstances. Here are some facts that go to prove that the Jayawardenapura University is administered by a bunch of very inefficient people, who do hardly any progressive work and yet collect their regular salaries.Last year, teachers specialised in English were recruited as visiting lecturers for a course conducted for new entrants of the university’s medical faculty.

J’Pura students take to the streets

This was a one-month intensive course that started in September and ended in October. The teachers were given their letters of appointment in November, and they were paid only SIX months later.

This year too a similar course was conducted for the medical students, from September to October. The letter of appointment for this batch, though dated 30 October, was posted only on 22 November. It is anyone’s guess when these teachers will be paid.

Following this course, another one for the student pharmacists and nurses was conducted from mid-November to mid-December. The letter of appointment for this has not yet appeared.

The visiting lecturers have been teaching without a letter of appointment in their hands. This is technically wrong. These teachers undertook to teach without any official letters purely out of consideration for the students.

This then is how the administrators of the university work.

Observer of University Goings-on

Blackout on Kandy-K’tota road after 7p.m.

The street lamps along the Kandy-Katugastota road have not been functioning for the past one week. By 7.00 pm, the entire stretch of road is in total darkness.

This is a cause for much concern and inconvenience to motorists and pedestrians. Even getting off a bus is difficult and dangerous. Can the authorities concerned please reduce their electricity consumption during the day for the sake of the citizens who need illumination on the roads at night?

Mrs. H. Marikar, Kandy

Banks could finance meters for three-wheelers

These days we see three-wheelers running around Colombo with meter signs. Passengers are showing a preference for autos with meters installed because the fares are reasonable, and travel is significantly cheaper than in autos without meters.

Why don’t the authorities advise three-wheeler owners on the benefits of using meters through poster campaigns, pocket meetings and advertisements in the media?

The cost of installing a meter is about Rs.15,000. Not all owners can afford to pay this amount. Banks have an opportunity to do the community a service by offering auto-owners loans at concessionary interest rates and with hassle-free security.

This truly would be a service to the public who regularly use taxis and three-wheelers.

Vivek, Colombo 5

Kadawatha underpass overstated

Many letters have appeared in newspapers with regard to the underpass at Kadawatha. Some of them have said only an at-grade intersection — a junction at which two or more roads cross at the same level — is needed at this location, not an underpass (a grade-separated intersection).

As usual, political authorities discarded the professional's advice, and got their aspirations somehow achieved, spending Rs 100 million plus for the project. The underpass has been completed but remains closed for traffic.

Road closed: The Kadawatha underpass

A letter published in September 2007 in a national newspaper pointed out that given the estimated traffic volume and the projected volume for the next 20 years, what was needed was only an at-grade intersection not an underpass.

The points raised in that letter are quite valid even today. The writer had stated a valid decision-support principle, i.e. all sectors of a country could equally be benefited provided the interventions were optimum and were commensurate with the country's earnings to afford it.

In this context, could the Road Development Authority justify economically as to which investment is optimally viable for the majority -- the Kadawatha underpass or the approach road to Kelani Siri bridge?
This question apart, most road users await the opening of the underpass. Who could do this? Like always only the President could do it.

Tharaka Uduwithana Via email

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