CMC and CEB are good for you, they make you laugh! Layard’s Road, Colombo 5, down which I live, has a drain full of empty plastic bottles and containers which have been accumulating for weeks. While no self-respecting dengue mosquito would dream of having little ones there, I have been offended by the eyesore. Today, [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Letters to the editor


CMC and CEB are good for you, they make you laugh!

Layard’s Road, Colombo 5, down which I live, has a drain full of empty plastic bottles and containers which have been accumulating for weeks. While no self-respecting dengue mosquito would dream of having little ones there, I have been offended by the eyesore. Today, when I was passing, there happened to be a street cleaner at that very spot. I asked him why he was not removing the plastic ware and cleaning the drain. His reply was that he had not brought a cart; he had brought only a basket. I asked him who was then to clean the drain of its ornaments, and his helpful reply was people should not have put such stuff there, and that perhaps I should tell the police. I didn’t, for fear of being killed.

So I did the next best thing, I called the CMC. After five different people had listened to my story five different times, I was finally given a number to call (2582778). The individual who answered listened to my story and informed me that garbage collection was not the CMC’s business, and to call Ab–s. I informed him that we ratepayers pay rates to the CMC to remove our garbage, and that therefore our contract is with the CMC and not Ab – - s, and we don’t need to call the CMC’s subcontractors, but the CMC itself.

He cut the line, and did not pick it up again. (Why should he? The fact that he is paid with our taxes does not mean that he is answerable to us, does it?).

I was on such a high after that, that I decided to call the CEB – for the nth time – about a street light which has been burning 24/7 for at least the past four months, right across from the ornament-filled drain. (I know that a powerful street light burning all the time for months on end is no big deal in this land of plenty where the CEB’s losses are only in the billions, but it bothers me). As before, I was told by the CEB that street lights are not their problem and to call the CMC. I didn’t. They would have asked me to call Ab- -s.
Now I am wondering whom to call about the latest decoration our neighbourhood has received from a well-wisher, three days ago. It is a discarded commode, which sits invitingly under a tree, longing to be sat on, diagonally across from the ornament filled drain and blazing street light. Maybe I should call Ab- – s, but they mighty ask me to call the CMC!!

Mahendra Fernando, Colombo 5

What’s happening to Kandy City and suburbs?

During the past couple of years the authorities have been trying to give some facelift to Kandy City and its suburbs. However, with all these efforts I believe that some of the major problems encountered  by the people in Kandy City and suburbs have not been properly addressed.

When you look at the city itself, it’s a mess. There is no proper bus stand in the city. To be precise there are three major bus stands situated within about one kilometre from each other but  sad to say, none of these bus stops have proper facilities for commuters. Currently the Clock Tower Bus Stop is under construction and we see people running here and there to find their bus. Since the inception at the Clock Tower Bus Stop, no proper shelter for passengers was made.

The same situation is seen at the Torrington Bus Stand . Some private bus operators used to park their buses near the Bogambara prison (behind Central Market) and pick up passengers. This place is normally used for the purpose of dropping off passengers coming from different parts of Kandy district and other areas.

There was an overhead bridge near the Police station which was built by President Ranasinghe Premadasa which was demolished. If it had been there, it would have been a great relief for the Police Traffic division and for the people.

It is very difficult to traverse the Lake Round which is unfortunately the only available road to access Digana, Haragama, Mahiyangana, Badulla, Ampara, Ampitiya, Thalathuoya, Marassana, and number of other destinations. There are several schools situated in the  Lake Round and during morning and evening hours it takes hours to pass this two kilometre stretch. If the Dalada Maligawa passage was opened for light vehicles that would be some relief and would also save fuel.

However, we can see there is some development work going on and we trust that the authorities will look into these matters immediately and give some relief for schoolchildren, workers and other people living in Kandy City and suburbs.

Wedage, Kandy

A dedicated staff, the key to NIMH being a haven

I happened to read an article by Dr. Prabath Wickrama, Consultant Psychiatrist (Trincomalee) in the Sunday Times of April 21 and wish to express my views as a social worker who has been associated with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for a considerable period of time.

The Mental Hospital Angoda surrounded by towering walls was known to be the place where the mentally ill were finally confined by the public and the legal system. It was also known to be a place of suffering with punishments similar to a prison. This is what it was in the old days.

As a social worker I have been visiting the Mental Hospital Angoda which is now known as the National Institute of Mental Health over a period of time. Having associated the NIMH, I realised that the perception of the public is completely different from the actual ground situation that prevails in and around the premises.

I have witnessed continuous improvement at the NIMH over the years. I know for a fact that there is much research being carried out constantly to provide the best in mental healthcare as it is believed that one in four people suffers from a psychiatric condition at some point in life.

A unique quality I have seen at the NIMH is the team spirit among the doctors, nurses, attendants and other staff. Their friendly disposition, helpful attitude and willingness to give a hearing are a few reasons that provide the patients, their families and their loved ones happiness and comfort. Accessibility to the doctors and the medical staff with their accommodative attitude undoubtedly is the main reason for the NIMH to be what it is today. The attention given to the patients by the doctors and the medical staff is far superior to what I have seen in other state hospitals. Cleanliness, maintenance and the general upkeep of the NIMH are also significantly noticeable factors to an outsider.

In addition to all the research and training on mental healthcare, occupational therapy plays a vital role at the NIMH. When I saw the patients at the Occupational Therapy Unit for the first time it was unbelievable and I was so happy that the place known for suffering has been transformed into a homely atmosphere. Horticulture, music, singing, art, indoor games, badminton etc. are some of the activities I have seen the patients take part in. The library within the occupational therapy unit is also patronized fairly well. The Occupational Therapy Unit also plays a major role in the rehabilitation process of the patients under the guidance of the Director, NIMH.

I presume the reason for personal interest in the patients comes down from the hospital administration itself as the Director NIMH is a Psychiatrist himself. The importance of an appropriate approach to the patients is best known to a psychiatrist more than any other. It is a fact that mental healthcare is not general health administration and needs extra care and attention to detail.

I understand that the current Director (Acting), NIMH will not hold office for long due to administrative reasons. But, it is evident that all the said improvements and the current environment at the NIMH are solely due the proper understanding by the hospital administration ably headed by a psychiatrist.

As a social worker having seen the improvements at the NIMH over a period of time, I would wish that the hospital administration remains unchanged in the best interests of all the patients who require residential mental healthcare.

D. H. Gunaratne, Ratmalana

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