I read with great interest Dr. W. Y. Rambukwella’s excellent article, “Expulsion, not suspension, should be minimum punishment for raggers” (Sunday Times, January 22, 2012). I am most thankful to the learned physician for his candid thoughts.
I have an axe to grind with university raggers. Let me explain.
When my only daughter reached school-going age, well over five decades ago, I rented an annexe at No. 8, Gomes Path, Bambalaptiya, so that she would qualify for admission to Visakha Vidyalaya, just a three-minute walk from our home. I was successful in having my daughter admitted to Visakha. She was a student of the school from kindergarten up to the Advanced Level, and she qualified to enter university.
In the meantime, a female student at the Peradeniya campus who was ragged jumped off an upper floor and was permanently and totally disabled. She later committed suicide. I was shocked and distressed. I then decided that I would not send my daughter to a “hell hole” called a university.
Instead, my daughter followed a course at the Institute of Bankers and qualified. She found employment at the Sampath Bank. Some time later, on her way home, she and her husband had a narrow escape from a bomb explosion in Rajagiriya. Three female employees of the same bank lost their lives in the blast. As a result, I decided to send my daughter overseas.
Many years ago, I wanted to appeal to the authorities to sack all raggers, but lacked the courage to do so, fearing I would incur the wrath of these same raggers.
In my twilight years, I am elated that someone like Dr. Rambukwella has called for the sacking of raggers. I join him in appealing to the people’s President to order that raggers be sacked from the universities with one stroke of his pen. The pen, they say, is mightier than the sword.
Penalty for speeding on the expressway
I happened to take the expressway to Hikkaduwa on the 15th of last month and found the drive really exciting. The surrounding environment too was eye-catching. Good deeds must be acknowledged and admired.
The point I wish to raise is the speed limit, and the effort the driver must make to stay within the limit. I admit I exceeded the limit. It was tempting to step on the gas. I was spotted by highway patrol speed checkers and my car number was radioed to staff at all the exit points along the expressway.
On arriving at the Baddegama exit, I was stopped by the police and told to hand over my licence, and I was given a fine sheet. I did not dispute that I had committed a road offence, and looked around to find a post office to pay the fine and to collect my licence. For my bad luck, it was a Sunday, which meant going all the way back to Baddegama to collect my licence after paying the fine on another day.
What I would like to suggest is that the authorities install a Sub-Post Office, or a post office counter at all or selected exits along the expressway to make life easier for the traveller. This should be a 24/7 operation, 365 days a year.
It would be appreciated if the authorities found a way to encourage highway users to use the roads over and over again.
Sudath de Silva,
Can you remember, Grandson?
Can you remember, Grandson,
When we played together as friends?
Companions who told each other stories
Made up of Ninja turtles
And spaceships that zoomed into
Precious moments that have now
Turned into fragments of memory.
Now that you are no longer around.
You have become a young man
Who will create his own world
That will carry you into a future
I cannot share.
Soon you may even leave your motherland
To search for yet another world.
But there remain memories
Time cannot change
Of you and me
And happy times…
Man has trespassed on land
that belongs to the elephant
It is important not only to look after the elephants that are in captivity, but also the elephants in the wild.
Recently a wild elephant came limping into a village after being injured by a trap-gun set to catch animals like rabbits and so on. This kind of injury can be avoided by simply not putting such traps in areas where elephants roam.
The elephant-human conflict arises for two reasons. Man has encroached on jungle areas that are a part of the elephant habitat. For various reasons, man has trespassed on land that rightly belongs to the elephant, Sometimes it is to build homes and sometimes it is for illicit timber felling.
There is no one to speak for the elephants, when people who build homes in elephant terrain are later attacked by elephants. Elephant habitats should be protected and no development should be allowed in these areas.
Also, when there are severe droughts in areas where elephants dwell, the authorities should provide food and water for the animals.
Elephants are part of the natural wealth of the country and should be looked after. Seeing to their needs in times of drought and food scarcity will go a long way in preventing the human-elephant conflict.
Gertrude de Livera,
Clarifying picture at Delkanda Land Registry
I wish to comment on the letter titled “Pitiful State of Land Registry Office, Delkanda – Panting upstairs and filling forms on a shelf” (Sunday Times, January 29, 2012), by ‘Disappointed’.
The writer starts off by saying there is no proper desk to sit at and fill forms obtained from the registry. In the fourth paragraph, he says there is a desk 3 feet by 1 1/2 feet for the purpose of filling forms. I have not only seen the said desk, but also unutilised counters that can be used, without having to bend in two, to fill forms. There are no chairs to sit in and fill forms in most Land Registries, including those of Colombo, Panadura and Horana.
The Delkanda Land Registry occupies a part of the 3rd floor of the High Level Plaza Building with the Western Zonal Office of the Registrar General’s Department, the Registration of Title Office (Bimsaviya) and some private establishments. This building is owned by the Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Municipal Council. The Land Registry is on a lease or tenancy. Although the writer says there is ample space, there is hardly any space to keep a table or a desk and chairs in the area occupied by the Delkanda Land Registry. Directions on how to fill the forms are displayed near the Application Counter, so you do not have to seek help from others.
It is strange that “Disappointed” should have missed the board that says the Land Registry is located between the two gates in front of the High Level Plaza Building. The name-board is put up near the statue of the Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera.
The car park does not belong to the Delkanda Land Registry or the Registrar General’s Department – it is the property of the Municipal Council. The MC charges a parking fee too. The Registrar of the Delkanda Land Registry has no authority to prevent people from using the car park, whether they on business in the building or not.
On the ground floor of the High Level Plaza Building you will find the Gangodawila Sub-Post Office and some communication centres that sell stamps. I don’t think the Registrar of the Delkanda Land Registry has the authority to set up a stamp-selling counter in the Land Registry.
There are many government offices and business establishments in the building where the Delkanda Land Registry is situated. But no one has installed a signboard pointing to the lift. However, I agree with “Disappointed” that it is not necessary to go to lawyers to get the forms filled. The owners of the properties can do so themselves.
As someone who regularly visits the Delkanda Land Registry on various official matters, I should say that almost all the members of the Delkanda Land Registry, including the Registrar of Lands and the Additional Registrars of Lands, are very helpful and always ready to help the general public.
In conclusion, I would say: Please check whether the name-board of the Delkanda Land Registry facing High Level Road has been removed.
I have a couple of suggestions for the Mayor of the Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Municipal Council:
- Install a sign pointing to the lift;
- Stop those who have no business in the said premises from using the car park.
And I have a couple of suggestions for the Registrar General:
- Set up stamp counters at every Land Registry, islandwide;
- Install desks or tables and chairs for members of the public to fill forms.
R. A. Piyadasa,