Bashing public won’t help for bungling by authorities In spite of the Government’s painstaking efforts the number of COVID-19 patients is alarming. The way the vaccine was administered in the Western Province is an example of the confusion and uncertainty. The public did not know where the vaccine was being administered. We went from Kirula [...]


Letters to the Editor


Bashing public won’t help for bungling by authorities

In spite of the Government’s painstaking efforts the number of COVID-19 patients is alarming. The way the vaccine was administered in the Western Province is an example of the confusion and uncertainty. The public did not know where the vaccine was being administered. We went from Kirula Road to Campbell Park and back to Kirula Road for the first dose.

Even after the arrival of Sinopharm vaccine with availability assured, there were long queues with no care about social distancing. We saw long queues again when the country was opened on June 21.The public was found violating the health rules.

The authorities should have expected large queues when the country was opened up. Nobody would jostle for a place in a queue if there was an alternative but there was no-one to guide or direct them. After two months the kitty had hit the bottom and to keep the home fires burning it was not surprising that housewives queued up to pawn whatever was left with them. The same problem was seen at liquor shops.

The establishments that benefit from this exercise – banks, liquor shops, pawn shops should see that the public adheres to the rules by engaging somebody to direct them. Gramaseva Niladharis could have been of much assistance.

There are 14,022 Gramaseva Niladharis covering the entire island under the supervision of 332 Divisional Secretaries. Their services should have been harnessed. They have a limited area to cover but wide experience. The Gramaseva Niladhari (GN) in one of the most thickly populated divisions in Colombo, Thimbirigasyaya has 9,100 on the voters list. Presuming each family has four voters, he has to account only for 2275 households. As against the number of GNs, there are less than 4,000 Public Health Inspectors (PHI) for the entire country! Why pressurize the PHIs with work that Gramaseva Niladharis can easily perform.

I am told Sugathadasa Stadium would be one of the next venues for vaccination. Why get large numbers to assemble in one place? Are we not inviting trouble? Go back to the polling booth system where one booth covers about 2000 voters.

The less we talk about food distribution the better. During the war years, the government had created the post of Commissioner of Essential Services to handle food distribution with a senior civil servant in charge. That was a very trying time with food supplies even having to reach the LTTE held areas. During 2nd World War Sir Oliver Gunathilake had performed the same function. But in this lockdown, in the area where I live, only once did a lorry with vegetables turn up. While there was a glut of vegetables in producing areas, there was a shortage in urban areas.

There are more than 200 supermarkets in the island. At the moment they function only as marketing outlets. In producing areas can’t they function as purchasing points too?

There needs to be some thinking outside the box.

The public is suffering. Please do not bash them for the fault of the authorities, like the villager who thrashed the hide of the deer at home for eating up his paddy in the field.

 A Retired Government Agent  Via email

This will go down as the ‘great vaccine robbery’ of Sri Lanka

A serious lapse by the Health Ministry in its vaccination programme, has resulted in a high percentage of people living in Colombo and the suburbs not getting their booster doses of vaccine.

The vaccination programme commenced in Colombo with most of the population in Colombo, Nugegoda, Kotte and suburbs getting the first instalment of the vaccine. We were given a card, issued by the Ministry of Health, which mentioned the name of the vaccine as Covishield. The due date for the booster was mentioned as 10 weeks. Having been vaccinated on February 28, at the MOH’s Office, Dehiwala, my booster dose should have been administered on May 9.

However 10 weeks have passed by and now it is nearly four months and most of the people in these areas are still awaiting their booster doses. We are now very vulnerable to infection as we have not received the booster dose.  Our only protection is still to wear masks, maintain social distancing and sanitize like crazy.

The situation is more alarming as some of us are patients with non communicable diseases like diabetes.  It is very irresponsible of the health authorities to neglect administering of the booster dose of vaccine to a section of the population living in the capital city in this manner. Now vaccination programmes using the Sinopharm vaccine have commenced. But vaccines cannot be mixed and the same brand has to be used for the booster too.

It is sad to note that while many in Colombo have not got the booster, many with connections in the right places have got it and that the Covishield vaccine has been administered in Galle too.

We are law abiding citizens from all walks of life who queued patiently and got vaccinated following all the rules imposed by the Government. It is clear that our booster doses have been diverted to other channels. I wonder if this type of base acts occurred in any other country.

The vaccine should be made freely available in the market. If it were,  then even if there is a lapse on the part of the Government, the health of the people would not be in jeopardy. Is this form of social discrimination a violation of our human rights? I guess this would go down in history as the “great vaccine robbery of Sri Lanka”.

 Mayanthie Jayasinghe  Via email

Vaccination drive in Kandy: Praiseworthy dedication to duty

The vaccine drive was conducted at St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota on June 20, 2021 in respect of their Grama Niladari Divisions numbering about 1000 persons. I am in Grama Niladari Division 225 Nittawela.

The arrangements made for vaccination at this centre were excellent. From the time we entered the premises we were guided to the respective registration sections by the Police and Army officers who were very courteous. Thereafter we were sent to the area where the doctors and nursing staff were deployed for vaccination. They took special care to look into our medical records. It was only then that they administered the vaccine. This type of dedication to duty is worthy of mention. The Rev. Father of the College too greeted us with a blessing.

I am writing this letter in appreciation of the excellent arrangements made by the Ministry of Health to execute the vaccination all through the island to eradicate the COVID-19 virus completely.

Sam Samarasinghe

Heartfelt thank you for giving confidence to an octogenarian

I write this short note to congratulate all those who were involved in providing the vaccine at St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota.

I am in my 80s, and I felt very confident in the ladies who administered the vaccine who were gentle, thus giving me the self-confidence I needed.

Well done one and all for your dedication!

Maithri Samarasinghe  Via email

Only a collective effort will help

Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

However, its people especially the low income groups and daily paid workers are undergoing great hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There seems to be no end to it.

Meanwhile, there does not seem to any cooperation among the elected representatives of the people in unitedly facing this massive crisis. At least now the government and the opposition should get together and tackle this crisis with the cooperation of the persons who are directly dealing with it. Instead of criticism what is needed is advice and help.

We, the members of the public should understand that the control of COVID-19 depends largely on us. Therefore, all of us should follow the health guidelines stringently.

Nimala Jayasuriya  Rajagiriya

Zoo: Lesson to be learnt from baby boom

A news item revealed that there has been a 25% increase in new births of animals and birds at the Dehiwala Zoo recently. And this is due to the closure of the Zoo to visitors. This shows that if they are not disturbed, animals will behave naturally.

My question is why can’t the Zoo authorities close the Zoo for a certain period regularly (after thoroughly studying the best yield period) to nurture our zoological assets. They may lose some minimal income but the gain could be very high.

V. Sivagurunathan  Via email


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