Give priority to eradicating Dengue fever above everything in this country I have been a Doctor working in Sri Lanka for more than 53 years.  In the old days there were major epidemics of Smallpox, Malaria and Polio.  Despite not having all the facilities that the present generation have – like transport, communication and modern [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka



Give priority to eradicating Dengue fever above everything in this country

PHIs checking suspected Dengue sites: Dengue day should be every day

I have been a Doctor working in Sri Lanka for more than 53 years.  In the old days there were major epidemics of Smallpox, Malaria and Polio.  Despite not having all the facilities that the present generation have – like transport, communication and modern technology, these illnesses were totally eradicated.  Fortunately, vaccines for Smallpox and Polio contributed greatly to eradicate these illnesses.

They did not have “Smallpox Week, Malaria Week and Polio Week”  once in two or three months to eradicate these illnesses.  All steps were taken daily in all corners of the country to eradicate these illnesses.

I wish to request the WHO, the UN Organizations, the Sri Lanka Government, the Ministry of Health, the Sri Lanka Medical Association and all the Medical Associations of this country including the GMOA to give the highest priority to find ways and means to eradicate Dengue as soon as possible.

I wish to make the following points:

1)   For the prevention of Dengue, instead of having Dengue Week once in two or three months please have “Dengue Day every day”.

2)  Early detection of Dengue -

Between 12 and 24 hours of any fever the Dengue Antigen Test must be done.  This will give a warning to the doctor, the patient and the family.  The Dengue Antigen Test is quite an expensive test ranging between Rs.1,500 to Rs. 2,000 in the private sector.  The private hospitals and laboratories must reduce this charge considerably to allow patients to get this test done.  The Ministry of Health must provide all financial assistance to all Government hospitals and laboratories big or small to have facilities to do this test for every patient in this country when requested by the Doctor.  Most patients do not know about this test and the value of this test.   Many patients do not realize until the 3rd or 4th day that they are having Dengue Fever.

3)   If the Dengue Antigen Test is positive, a Full Blood Count must be done every day from the second day for six days to give an idea of the seriousness of this illness and to help in the treatment.

4)   All Doctors in this country, I am sure, know how to treat Dengue Fever if they have the warning that the patient may suffer from all the ill effects of this deadly illness.

5)   The eradication of Dengue Fever must be given top priority above everything else in this country.

Dr. K. Rajendra
Via email

Unpleasant incident at Sigiriya

Visiting Sigiriya recently with my batchmates, I had a bitter experience in the frescoes area. A tourist had taken a photograph of the frescoes despite the warnings and it was immediately noticed by an officer who happened to be there.

What followed was an ugly sight to witness. The tourist was subjected to rather harsh treatment by the officer. True, the tourist had done a wrongful act by taking photographs, but he was also entitled to be dealt with, with decency and respect. As Sri Lankans, we should be conscious of our heritage and culture. But above all, we must learn to respect humanity.

The price of the entrance fee for a tourist is another issue at Sigiriya. A tourist has to pay around Rs. 4500 (30 USD ). Even though they pay such a sum there is a lack of necessary facilities (this issue had been previously discussed in this paper). On the other hand, my friend pointed out that European countries do not charge differently for tourists and citizens. I think these issues must be addressed soon if the country needs to reach its tourism related targets.

Chandula Arsakulasuriya
Via email

A pack of jokers sometimes ‘rogues’ who run our coffers dry

Parliament is meeting this week after a short break which saved  the country millions of rupees. Every sitting costs the country a colossal sum of money. It’s the people’s money!According to recent data ( ref. Sunday Punch 3 of February 26, in the Sunday Times) each Cabinet Minister costs Rs.8.5 million a month. That’s a terrific cost to the country.

Foreigners may be under the impression that Sri Lanka is a rich country, and that our economy is thriving even better than the US  and China. They should know how the middle class are suffering with the taxes on everything and the high cost of living.

The basic fact is that our MPs are given too much luxury, and most of them do not deserve such luxury, going by the way they behave in Parliament.Many of them do not have basic qualifications like the GCE O’ Level.

They have come into Parliament through their ill gotten money, drugs, and other nefarious activities. There should be some rule that any misbehaviour in Parliament, will mean the forfeit of their car permit.

We have an absurd situation where even those suspected of fraud, corruption and  other offences are allowed to speak in Parliament even from the remand cell.This is extremely irritating to the voter, who expected wrongdoers  to be punished, not pampered.

Waiting for justice
Via email

Condominiums growing tall and fat but not strong

There appears to be sudden surge in the growth of condominiums, not only in Colombo and the suburbs, but also in the outstations. One does not know who regulates these buildings. To my knowledge the Condominium Management Authority, the Urban Development Authority, Colombo Municipality and perhaps the Environmental Authority are jointly and severally responsible for the ‘finished product’. It may be prudent for the Consumer Affairs Authority also to be involved.

However, when a prospective purchaser approaches these authorities to obtain clarifications with regard to authorized building plans, quality and legality of the Condominium Apartment Buildings, they are sent from pillar to post without adequate information. Some times information is deliberately withheld to assist the developer.

Invariably advances are paid even before foundations are laid as the developer indicates attractive discounts from the final price. Unfortunately, after the payments are made in full and occupation is allowed by the developer, it takes a number of years to obtain the Certificate of Conformity (COC) from the local authorities like the Municipal Councils , Urban Councils etc.

Invariably buildings do not conform to the original plan and thereby Title Deeds, in some cases are not issued for over 10 years and beyond.

Wellawatte, often referred to as ‘flat-watte’ is inundated with condominiums. The by-roads which catered for about five to 15 houses, now cater for over  300-500 apartments. Thus the roads are choc-a-bloc, both with human and vehicular traffic. It is not known as to whether sewerage system and water supplies could withstand the demands in the future. A couple of years ago there was a rule that on the seaside roads, not more than four storeyed apartments could be built in order to allow the free flow of sea breeze to the land side. However, this restriction was violated, I understand, with a ‘santhosam’ of a million rupees per additional floor to the appropriate authorities.

Now, no such restriction appears to exist. Further, in other areas too, approved building plans are violated openly by putting up additional floors. This results in the legitimate purchasers being denied the transfer deeds as COC is not given to the developer by the local authority.  With the passage of time however, when the authorities are’ looked after’ adequately by contributions from the purchasers, COC is obtained. Nevertheless, the deed of transfer is not given for various other reasons like mortgages etc. The poor purchasers continue to be in an unenviable position of holding the tiger’s tail.

There are a number of apartments, where deeds, particularly in the Wellawatte area are not given.

It would be prudent for the Condominium Management Authority to look into  such apartments. The Sunday Times of 26/7/15 reported this under the title  “Deeds and Misdeeds: 6000 owners fall flat in Condominiums”. One is led to believe the Condominium Management Authority, Colombo Municipal Council, Urban Development Authority are all in hand in glove with the developers and desist from initiating action even when complaints are made.

Colombo is becoming a concrete jungle. Unless adequate precautions are taken we will end up in an oven.

It is suggested that laws should be enacted to ensure that adequate land space 12 ft wide X the length and breadth of the building be provided at least on two sides of the apartment complex to enable shady trees to be planted with a little space for gardening too.

Via email

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