|Sunday, 8 May 2005|
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The feature article in your edition of 24th April, about the Cadju girls at Bataliya was very interesting. I too have been a frequent traveller on this road for many years, and it was always a pleasure to stop and purchase some nuts from these girls.
It was also a saddening experience to note the gradual decline of customers and business at these wayside stalls.
In the old days, approaching this area from either direction, you immediately detected the faint aroma of freshly shelled and roasted nuts. After entering the area the smell was quite overpowering and appetising, especially when you saw the mounds of hot cadjus, with wisps of steam still rising, and the girls deftly counting the hot nuts into paper bags.
The scene now is so dull and depressing, where all the girls have resorted to the lazy alternative of having a roll of plastic packs of pre-packed cadjus, cold and unappetising, which in any case you can buy in any shop between Colombo and Kandy, and therefore needs no stop at Bataliya specially.
We were shocked to hear the recent accident which took place in Alawwa taking the lives about 40 persons including some small children. The main reason for those accidents that we come to know almost everyday is the carelessness of the drivers and reluctance to follow road rules.
It is a conspicuous fact that the drivers of private busses pay no attention to the commuters or other road users as their sole intention is to increase their income.
The driving licences of those drivers should be cancelled after proper investigation. The politicos should not intervene with the duties of the police when they are to take legal actions against the drivers who contravene road rules.
This type of intervention has to be done away with in order to curtail road accidents. The time has come to abolish route permits of bus owners who employ drivers who do not obey road rules and kill innocent people.
The SEMA was set up with all hopes and expectations that at least it can get involved in restructuring loss making public enterprises. Upto now SEMA has not been able to bring about any change whatsoever to the institutions brought under it other than dispose of some landed property under highly questionable circumstances and terms.
True, SEMA consists of some of the best private sector managers who have excelled in their respective companies and industries. But perhaps this also is the root of SEMA's problems. All those appointed, except for one or two, are simply too busy to devote time for SEMA.
This leaves only the one or two SEMA directors to run the whole show with the others merely rubber stamping the questionable decisions of a minority. It is therefore high time President reconstituted SEMA with professionals that can devote full time rather than a set of part timers for this important position.
Accidents caused by private bus operators have been the highest on record during the past few years. The commuters in general, are much concerned about this degenerating situation in our Public Transport Services and lament with a sense of pessimism that the entire transport service will be under threat in the not-too-distant future, if this state of affairs continue unabated.
It is high time to enforce stringent laws against negligent bus operators and the National Transport Act needs immediate amendments to minimise tragedies of this nature. The Private Bus Owners too should be awakened to the reality of the urgent necessity to recruit competent drivers who are Human beings and not Demons or Maniacs who do not realise the value of human life.
The C.G.R. authorities also should take immediate action to fence up whatever space now available between either sides of rail gates barring any dare-devil drivers who dare to do zig-zag crossing while the gates are closed.
Don Sarath Abeyesekara,
Thank you for publishing on 17/4/05 some extracts out of the Memoirs of the late Prime Minister (Mrs.) Sirimavo Bandaranaike. These revealing personal notes written in the author's personal style indicate periodically to the public the private mind of ladies and gentlemen who have been earlier 'judged' on the basis of official conduct of affairs.
At sometime in the late 1960's (or thereabouts) a morning newspaper once serialised substantially the biographical (diary) notes of the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike (Prime Minister, 1956-59) revealing an erudite man of elegance and charm in personal expression. There was no doubt thereafter that this had been a fine gentleman of most sensitive mind and heart at the private level.
Sixty years after my first contact with the EDCS and Sixteen years after resignation in the post of Accountant, EDCS retired SA.
I happen to read Sunday Observer on April 24, a news item about EDCS running today at a Rs. 30 m bank overdraft, with malice to not have seen this as depiction of height of mismanagement in an institution which I remember, with current accounts holding favourable balances and having investments of several lakhs on fixed deposits in the bank.
The Railway - Bus accident which occurred in between Polgahawela and Alawwa is due to the fault of the bus driver and the conductor. These private bus drivers and conductors have to be blamed for all the accidents because the people have seen with their own eyes that their motive is to earn more income rather than safeguarding passengers.
Now the time has come for the Government to introduce tough laws. Also these drivers and conductors should be severely punished and thereby a lesson is taught to other private bus owners.
M. Ashraff Nazim,
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