Mr. President, show this country that you are in control Mr. President, please take full control of this country, the ministers and parliamentary affairs. We citizens elected you as an executive president, you promised the dismantling of the ‘’ executive ‘’ presidency which still remains elusive. Mr. President, you said you are a farmer, from [...]


Letters To The Editor


Mr. President, show this country that you are in control

Mr. President, please take full control of this country, the ministers and parliamentary affairs. We citizens elected you as an executive president, you promised the dismantling of the ‘’ executive ‘’ presidency which still remains elusive.

Mr. President, you said you are a farmer, from far away Polonnaruwa, you said, you had a simple life, we unanimously accepted what you said, now, we want to see that is reflected in you, and in your government.

We have accepted that you are not personally responsible for all the chaos, indiscipline and corruption built over the years, but, we hold you responsible for good governance and that covers a wide range of expectations from us the majority, who are leading a frugal life.

Please withdraw the subsidized meal in the Parliament, this is discrimination against helpless citizens. Parliamentarians must pay the price we are paying,  for them to understand ground realities and the high cost of living.

Let the Parliamentarians understand, that the choice of vehicles, must reflect the economic situation of this country. A duty free permit is given to an individual or a company, for exclusive use. It is scandalous and unethical if this permit is put up for sale.Duty free vehicles  may be provided, only as a necessity, not a luxury.

A luxury for any citizen, must be out of his own sweat or inheritance. Put the country on a frugal footing, that is what we are, at least the majority of us are, not sure of our next full wholesome meal.

Please be pragmatic without bombarding us with rhetoric. The time is ripe for you to be a  “real patriot” show this country your loyal citizens, that you are in control, that you will deliver our expectations.

Walter Fernando



Getting rid of garbage the Swedish way

Disposal of waste and garbage in Sri Lanka which was until recently taken for granted by society has today become a major problem reaching catastrophic proportions. In developing countries like Sri Lanka the lack of basic maintenance, e.g. good housekeeping, at home and in work places, is one main cause of scant interest given to disposal of waste. Developed countries realising the priority need for effective maintenance have successfully introduced methods and techniques of disposal of industrial waste and domestic garbage.

As an individual observer glaring instances of haphazard waste disposal practised in Sri Lanka can be listed as follows.

*    Dumping rubbish into huge heaps in areas often habituated by humans.

*    Open road drains that block and collect waste and rain water due to garbage bags that are dropped in

*    No systematic method of sorting the domestic garbage and throwing the  mixed garbage in shopping bags by the roadside

*    Lack of any legal machinery to control the disposal of industrial and domestic waste

*    Transporting the rotting garbage in open Land masters, tractors and lorries

Some immediate hazardous consequences due to the above practices are as follows;

*    Spreading health hazards e.g dengue, viral infections, etc

*    Unbearable rotten smell tolerated by the public using or living on the roads used for garbage transport.

*    Garbage heaps piled close to living quarters falling on the houses destroying and sometimes killing people, e,g, Meethotamulla tragedy.

The million dollar question is why cannot a developing country like Sri Lanka adopt affordable methods of waste disposal as practised in developed countries. An example from Sweden and a proposal to solve the problem in Sri Lanka is appended.

Sweden achieved the 7th position out of 137 countries in a survey carried out on comfortable living standards. After living in Sweden for almost 26 years I wish to share my experiences. Sweden is a clean country. Rubbish and garbage are hardly or never seen on either roads or places habituated by people.

Some good practices of housekeeping they adopt are as follows.

*    All houses maintain a rubbish box (usually metal) divided into three

compartments. One for kitchen garbage, one for thick plastic waste and the third for metal and glass waste. The garbage box can be obtained from the local bodies. The compartments are lined with thin plastic bags obtained cheap in shops. The box is left under the kitchen counter for easy disposal of waste. Old newspapers and books are collected elsewhere in the house. Once or twice a week the rubbish bags are deposited at collecting centres situated at walking distance from the houses. The collecting  centres have large metal containers separate for each type of rubbish, viz. kitchen garbage, plastic, metal, white glass, coloured glass, newspapers and printed paper.

*    Once a week or so heavy garbage transporting vehicles arrive at the centre and the garbage containers are lifted and deposited separately in transporting vehicles. Large space in the vehicles is provided for the kitchen garbage which is incinerated and quantities are made smaller while transporting to main rubbish centre situated away from living areas. For example, there is one main centre for each city. It is not seen or known how the main collecting centres dispose of the rubbish and waste. These procedures take place without disturbing the general population and are hardly seen by the people.

*    Other systems and good practices in Sweden

*    There are no open drains which means that there are advanced systems of  waste water disposal underground.

*    There is a legal machinery to check that individuals correctly sort the rubbish at homes and deposit it in the correct containers in the collecting centres. The local bodies have the possibility to control the haphazard disposal of waste by the general public.

*    Effective and excellent maintenance system adopted in Sweden is the secret to a smoothly running system.

It is predicted that heavy expenditure can be involved in implementing the above procedures in Sri Lanka. Therefore, one may think it is not economical to be adopted in Sri Lanka.  But the long-term effect and the long-term economic benefit is sizable. It is not necessary to introduce the above system as practised in Sweden in one go.  Considering the mess up of the rubbish disposal problem in Sri Lanka today an effective solution has not yet been proposed by anyone so far.

Therefore, it is recommended that:

After a systematic plan the effective and affordable facilities should be introduced gradually in Sri Lanka.

As a first step, it is strongly suggested that 5-10 Sri Lankan officials are given training fellowships and sent to Sweden for a few weeks to study in depth the details of the waste disposal system. Each trainee must specialize in one field of work viz. Methods adopted in homes and gardens, procedure in collecting centres, treatment of waste, waste water disposal underground, legal machinery, garbage transport, removal of garbage heaps, and last but not the least, economic commitments to implement different steps.

John Damascene Abeysekera


 Story of our lives…

Enshrined or enslaved

History repents and repeats

Geo-Politics ticks

‘Fake news’ at our finger-tips

WWIII is not out of reach


 Irene de Silva

Colombo 5


 SLT should convert land phones to CDMA

With the proliferation in the use of mobile phones, the usage of  land phones is now limited. Subscribers of land phones have to pay the monthly rentals including the taxes (which incidentally is a whopping 49.67 % being levied on the rental) irrespective of the usage.

I suggest that Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) grant us the facility to convert the land phones to CDMA to give mobility in which case the subscriber will be able to make better use of the same.

The service provider could charge a reasonable  fee for the conversion as it will immensely benefit the users of the land phones. I hope SLT will consider this request for the benefit of all land phone users. Over to TRCSL to ensure that the above proposal is implemented by the SLT.

Mohomed Zahran
Layards Broadway


 Please hear our plea and pay arrears due to us

It was observed that during the presidential election both the incumbent President  and the former,in their election manifestos, promised to give new (pension) scales to those who retired before 2006 with arrears from 2006. The new scale was given last year, but not arrears.

This is a request from me to the President to pay the arrears as promised to the pensioners as some have already died and the others have one foot in this world and the other in another world , as this will facilitate those of us who are still among the living to buy the medicines and spend on meritorious deeds. 



Unhealthy state of affairs: Rich go abroad, the poor have no options

Are we losing faith in our education and health care facilities? The signs began in the early 60s when Ms Bandaranaike said on stage that her children  will get the same facilities  as ordinary people of Sri Lanka, but sent her children abroad for higher education.

President Premadasa who did so much for the poor, sent his son to the UK.We know most of the rich send their children overseas for education. The University of  Ceylon Peradeniya claimed to be one of the best universities then, was not good enough for them.

Healthcare-wise very often we hear of our politicians going overseas for medical attention. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was in  the US for medical attention, and former President Mahinda Rajapkse went there twice for medical reasons.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne himself went a few months back to Singapore for an operation. I hear that Sri Lankans are queuing at Mt. Elizabeth Hospital Singapore waiting for appointments. I wonder why the GMOA is not protesting since it is their income that is going into the pockets of Singaporean Doctors and above all, they must analyse and see why Lankans including the Minister of Health have lost faith in them.

The SLMC, very much in the news these days regarding the quality of medical education should investigate to see why the Doctors produced by the state medical colleges are not acceptable to the rich and the famous.

May be their inaction will put at risk the poor who go to government hospitals while the rich have access to the best of health services overseas.


A.G. Weerasinghe
Via email


 Too many people paying utility bills at banks

Long queues are seen at state-owned banks (Bank of Ceylon and  Peoples’ Bank outstation branches) every day causing much inconvenience to the customers who come to the banks daily to do their transactions. I noticed many of them who were in the queues were not the bank customers but the people who had come to pay their utility bills like water bills and  electricity bills etc, Even though the Water Board and Electricity Board have established their regional officers and Paying Centres in every town for the consumers to pay their monthly bills, many like to pay their bills through the banks. I feel that banks have to educate the people in this regard. If it is difficult they have to open separate counters for this purpose.

Bank customer


The Govt. must send a clear message that it will not tolerate hate crimes against any group

Next year, 2018, Sri Lanka will be marking the 70th anniversary of our independence. This will be a milestone in our journey as a re-born nation. In our buildup to this event, it is important that we look soberly and honestly at the ‘balance sheet’ of our successes and failures over the past seven decades.

There will be no contesting in the fact that among all the former British colonies, it was Sri Lanka that was thought to have the best economic and social development under the given circumstances. The words of the late visionary- the Singaporean leader, are very often quoted in this regard. Equally, there will be no dispute that the greatest drawback to our development as a united nation has been the racial conflict, linguistic strife, and religious conflict” – the words once again of Lee Kuan Yew.

It saddens me that after coming through a hugely destructive 30 year war, destructive not only in pure economic terms but in terms of the colossal damage it has caused to our society, our values, morals, ethics and our standing in the family of nations, that we are being provoked and pushed once more into another dangerous conflict which has the potential to push this country once again to the brink of a new disastrous period of unrest and violence.

I refer of course to the provocative acts of hostility and violence against the Muslim community by the shortsighted and shameful actions of the Bodhu Bala Sena, its leadership and its camp followers.

Although there was a lull in such incidents after 2015, it appears that the BBS has been emboldened in recent days by the lethargy and indifference of the government. This government needs to be strongly reminded that one of the main reasons the minorities voted for it three years ago was chiefly due to its stance against intimidation and violence against ethnic and religious minorities.

The government also ignores such provocative acts at its own peril. If it does not send a clear message to the country that it will not tolerate hate crimes against any group, it is paving the way for its own demise as well as leaving the door open for another prolonged period of religious and ethnic strife, economic stagnation and international opprobrium.

No religion teaches hate and violence against others. Furthermore, there are civilized methods of dealing with disagreement and issues that one group may have against another. It is also the duty of all religious groups to actively promote the peaceful resolution of differences and misunderstandings. This is the minimum that we owe our country and its people for the common good of all.

Bishop of the Church of Ceylon & Bishop of Colombo- the Rt.Revd Dhiloraj Canagasabey


 Peliyagoda storm water 

drainage pumps, anicuts need urgent repair and upgrading

It is with utter disappointment and disgust that I write this in the hope that the authorities of the relevant areas take note and bring about a quick solution to the issues faced by the Peliyagoda residents and in particular Agoda Village residents.

The Peliyagoda storm water drainage pump house is located on the Colombo Negombo road, and next to the fuel station on to the right and the customs warehouse to the left.

The pump house was built during President Premadasa’s time in 1983 to pump the excess storm water from the then storm water retention areas of Peliyagoda.

The responsibility and maintenance of the pump house had been under the Land Reclamation Authority and through time changed hands to the Urban Council of Peliyagoda; it is once again the responsibility of the Land Reclamation Authority at present.

The pump house consists of two high calibrate pumps operated electrically to pump out an enormous amount of water to the river across the road with an anicut for closure when the river rises.

The system was in place and functioning till 1996 and there after with bad maintenance and disrepair one pump had been disfunctioning to this date. With the power bills not paid the remainder also was out of service for a considerable length of time.

The canal towards the river now has been encroached by illegal dumpyards and no authority has been able to curtail the ongoing activity. From then on the existing storm water retention marsh was filled up for the cement warehouse on Nuga Road, for the Peliyagoda fish market, the third large area was filled for the errection of the Airport Highway and then another area of the marsh for the vegetable market.

The above haphazard development has been without the proper procedures of planning infrastructure before development.

This kind of scant regard to the natural environment has brought about flooding to the common public in and around Peliyagoda, which areas are submerged for the slightest drizzle.

The UDA,UC, Presidential Secretariat and Land Reclamation Authority have been notified numerous times and sent photographic evidence but to no avail.

Since 1996,every year during the two monsoons the houses go under water but no compensation, not even the usual  ‘buth packet’ has been distributed.

The UDA and the UC have been approached many times to clean and dredge the existing canals and maintain the drainage but residents only meet a negative attitude.

2012 and 2016 brought acute flooding to the area which was under water for several days with three feet of water.

Residents lost all their possessions and had to start all over again and again. Yet we have not seen any authority who has ever sighted the area.

This is an urgent appeal for the people who can make a change. The Peliyagoda storm water drainage pumps should be repaired  and upgraded , and the anicuts repaired. All canals should be dredged and the filling of the marshlands stopped.

S. W. R.
Via email

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