Agony by Mihin at Dubai I was a passenger on a Mihin Lanka flight to Dubai and I write this letter in the hope that others would be spared the unwarranted hardship caused to me at the Dubai International Airport on December 26, from 5.05 a.m. to December 27, 11.45 p.m. I was on a [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka



Agony by Mihin at Dubai

I was a passenger on a Mihin Lanka flight to Dubai and I write this letter in the hope that others would be spared the unwarranted hardship caused to me at the Dubai International Airport on December 26, from 5.05 a.m. to December 27, 11.45 p.m.

I was on a 40-day tourist visa in Dubai and the visa was due to expire on December 28.

On December 26 I was at the airport from 5.05 a.m. to get through the Gate C2 to to board the Mihin Lanka Flight No: MJ 402 which was scheduled to leave for Colombo at 5.15 a.m.

The gate was open and manned by the relevant officers. One of them, said to be the main officer, refused to allow me to enter saying, “You are late. You have to buy another ticket,” although I had been there with my boarding pass five minutes earlier.

I explained to him of my financial inability to buy a ticket and the visa problem as referred to above, and begged of him to let me board the plane. He sternly rejected my humble plea and went on to board the plane. Thereafter, I called the Mihin Lanka office in Dubai a number of times from morning till evening and they said I had to buy another ticket. Immediately I got the Boarding Pass scanned and sent it to them. A few hours later they told me to pay a “No Show Fee of AED 220. When I went to the counter at 8.30 p.m. on 27/12/2013 to pay the said fee, the same ‘main officer’ recognising me pointed his index finger laughingly. Doesn’t it mean that he could be the sole person who had heaped all the trauma on me?

I hope the relevant authorities would look into this matter so that other Sri Lankans wouldn’t face the same fate.
Shihana Farook


Rizana’s execution, one year on

On the morning of January 12 last year, our nation was shocked to hear of the tragic news of the execution of young Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia.

All alone, in an alien country, Rizana faced a series of misfortunes. She was accused of murder, judged without defence, condemned to death, imprisoned for years and ultimately executed. It seemed like a horror film.

Rizana’s sufferings and death would not be in vain if Sri Lankans workers learn from her fate the grave risks involved in Middle-East employment. Are we so poor as to endanger their very lives and abandon their children and families for money? My opinion is that it is not poverty alone but greed and other factors such as jealousy, competition and desire for change that drive many to take up these jobs.

I appeal to all, to honour the memory of Rizana, desist from the temptation to seek greener pastures.
R.E.G. Perera


Road costs on highway to heaven

The cost per km of the Colombo-Katunayake expressway (E03) which was completed three months ago was Rs 1.7 billion.

The estimated cost of the 9.3 km long Outer Circular Highway (OCH-3) is said to be Rs. 66 billion or Rs 7.1 billion a kilometre, a staggering increase of 418%. According to information, work on the OCH-3 is to be started shortly.

Dear President, any layman will be shocked to learn of these controversial estimates. I would appreciate it if your learned officials could explain to the masses how they came up with the estimate of Rs 7.1 billion a km for the OCH-3 section.

Goyan Dias
via email

Amangalla explains restaurant policy

We are deeply concerned and disturbed by the comments in the letters published in the Sunday Times of January 19 and 26 referring to discrimination at Amangalla.

Let me assure readers and Mr. Wijeygunaratne and Ms. de Silva in particular that this could not be further from the policy of Amangalla and Amanresorts; an Asian-based chain, that specialises in small luxury hotels and resorts, the majority of which are located in Asia itself. On the contrary, the resorts including Amangalla, routinely offer a variety of programmes encouraging frequentation by residents of their respective host countries.

If I may put this unfortunate event in context for the benefit of readers, Amangalla is a small property of 31 rooms with space for only 50 diners in the restaurant and verandah. While non-resident guests are most welcome on a first-come-first-served basis we do have a responsibility to ensure that our in-house guests are assured of access to the dining venues on a priority basis.

As a consequence, we are on occasion obliged to restrict access to walk-in clients and kindly suggest that anyone wishing to dine in the hotel restaurants, contact the hotel and make prior arrangements to avoid disappointment.

We apologise if this was inadequately or inappropriately explained to Mr. Wijeygunaratne and Ms. de Silva but we can assure any visitors to Galle that they are most welcome at Amangalla.

Pietro Addis
General Manager, Amangalla


Hats off to Piliyandala police

Vehicles that had been brought for repairs to a garage at the Gadabuwana junction in Piliyandala were parked along the main Madapatha road, obstructing the smooth flow of traffic.

Residents feared to make complaints to authorities as the garage was patronised by many powerful people and service personnel.

However, the Piliyandala Police has now prohibited parking near the garage and placed a notice to this effect. We thank the OIC and his team for the action taken and hope the no-parking order will continue for the law-abiding citizens to live peacefully.
S. Fernando


Traffic offences: Can we pay the fine at the police station?

About a week ago, my daughter who was travelling in her car was stopped by a policeman near Kollupitiya junction for not stopping for the red lights. She was fined Rs. 1,000.

When I went to the post office to pay the fine I was told that I have to pay Rs. 1,100. When I asked the person at the post office why I should pay Rs. 100 more, she said the Postal Department charged a 10% commission as departmental fees.

What I cannot understand is why the Police Department want this payment to be made through post offices when the Police Department itself can obtain the payment. There are certain traffic offences, for which the fine is Rs. 5,000. In the case of such offences, a commission of Rs. 500 would have to be paid to the Postal Department for the service.

Take the case of a person who is on a long trip, say travelling from Hambantota to Colombo, and is charged with a traffic offence while in Colombo. If it happens to be a government holiday, the post offices are closed and there is no way of making the payment until the next working day. If he makes the payment to a post office in Hambantota he will have to come back all the way to Colombo to collect his driving licence.

When I went to the Kollupitiya police station to collect the driving licence I was asked to hand over the receipt issued by the post office for them to keep for their records. As such the person paying the fine will not have any receipt for the payment that has been made.

Such problems would not arise if the fine could be made to the police station itself. Since the police stations are open 24 hours of the day and are not closed for holidays, persons who are fined can make the payment immediately to the police station of the area and collect the driving licence. It will not be necessary for the police to retain the receipt since they themselves have a record of the payment made. The public will also be relieved of the burden of making additional payments as commissions to the Postal Department.
We hope the Inspector General of Police will take note of this situation and take necessary action.

Banduratne Hettiarachchi
(SLAS retired)
Via email





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