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Secretariat halt leaves much to be desired

Colombo Fort is the main converging and transit point in the metropolis, and buses and trains play a vital role in transporting people in and out of the city. Road transport is not only costlier but also cumbersome with traffic snarls at various points along Galle Road, Kandy Road and Negombo Road.

Since, train travel, being the only other option, the commuters prefer to board or disembark at the one and only underbridge railway station in the island, the Secretariat Halt.

This station, ideally located to suit tourists, office-goers, businessmen et al, is sandwiched between Lake House, Sea Food Restaurant and the Lotus Road, abutting the Press Club and the Fort police station. This halt which was in a run-down condition for several years, was given a 'new look', with the usual pomp and pageantry, by Transport Minister A. H. M. Fowzie, during his previous tenure of office.

But, the 'look' was a short-lived one, with the 'Halt' Sans illumination after nightfall making people to grope in the dark, and walk down the steps with broken side railing to find their platforms. The public address system that operated from Fort Station has long since, packed up, leaving the passengers to play the guessing game.

Womenfolk have to seek the help of male colleagues in their workplaces to provide escort till they board their respective trains.

The one and only convenience is the two two-seater benches for the weary to stretch their limbs. On rainy days, commuters 'waiting to board or disembark, brace for a good drench, since the overhead roof cannot provide enough cover for the entire train, especially when it is an express train with several bogeys (compartments). Undesirable elements hang around, under the bridge, late in the evenings.

Commuters appeal to the Fort police, which is just a stone's throw , to deploy a constable or two, to go on the beat till the last commuter train for the day, passes through.

A well-illuminated station is very important, in the present scenario, when at least it will help identify culprits just in case, any untoward incident takes place on or off the platform. Over to you Mr. Railways Minister.

Mangala Senapriya, Ja Ela

Inhalers and asthmatics

Doctors recommend inhaling medication for asthmatics. The cost of inhalers is staggering, and added to that, most of the inhalers are not up to standard.

Then there is no proper seal to confirm that it has not been used. There is only a strip of cellotape binding the box containing the inhaler.

Anyone could use it first and then paste the tape after a few puffs. When pressed to inhale part of the gas is driven back along the case.

Some have a bitter taste.

In order to bring down the cost of inhalers I suggest that the canisters be sealed in twos or fours as with flash light cells. The plastic case could be used over and over again. This would also be environment friendly.

Q. Balasuriya, Mt. Lavinia.

Keep it up, Editor !

I was very pleased to read The Face 2 Face column in your Sunday Observer. These types of conversations would reveal the real faces of our so-called leaders. Hope you would continue with this column and show the world what the people are up to.

Please find some space in your worthy paper to highlight the above letter and once again thank you very much for the articles.

Edin Perera, Maharagama.

NDC lecturers, students in dilemma

The lecturers of the National Diploma Course in National and Health Science at the Advanced Technological Institute, Dehiwala, have held various posts continuously in the State sector since 1974.

Further in addition to holding full responsibility as regards the agenda and practical activities of the above course, they have fulfilled the necessary post graduate requirements, in addition to the subject requirements of the first degree.

Therefore not enrolling students for the year 2006 - for the ongoing course and also deciding not to enrol students for the year 2007, it is obvious that the invaluable services they have rendered to the State have gone unrecognised.

Today, when there is a greater awakening, and greater awareness of teacher gratitude, it is indeed a great injustice, for them to thus leave the career after 32 years of dedicated service in a sense of frustration and disappointment.

Furthermore, the inability of the Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education, to further utilize the services of the present lecturing staff who are equipped with diverse skills relevant to the subject area, is a wanton wastage of a valuable human resource. Let me further elucidate on the course underlying this state of affairs.

The National Diploma Course in Home Economics which was inaugurated in 1976 was brought under the Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education in 1997 and it continued unchanged till 2003. Since 2003, the designation has been changed to a course of National Diploma in Nutrition and Health Science.

Diploma holders who have successfully completed the National Diploma in Home Economics Course are at present manning the teaching of Home Economics at the G.C.E.(A/L) in state schools.

As a result of limiting teacher appointments to colleges of Education, on the recommendation of the World Bank, the then prevailing National Diploma in Home Economics had to be revised and in the year 2000 new courses were started to suit other institutions relevant to the field.

But as vast sums had to be invested, only a few of the courses were conducted. As teacher appointments were limited to diploma holders of Colleges of Education from 2003, this course had to be amended to National Diploma in Nutrition and Health Science. But from the discussions held so far, it has been revealed that this course is to be wound up completely from 2007!

Of the students following the G.C.E.(A/L) Home Economics as only a limited number (about 30) are selected for the Colleges of Education, closing down the only tertiary education course available to the rest is a grave injustice meted out to them.

It is also clear that by this move, both human resources as well as full laboratory facilities complete with physical resources are made to go waste. Therefore it is the responsibility of the authorities concerned to set up alternative courses for those students.

As requested by the Advanced Technological Institute, they have already drawn up drafts for these courses.

There are:

1. National Diploma Course in Early Childhood Education

2. National Diploma in Catering and Hospitality Management

3. National Diploma Course in Food Science and Technology.

By drawing the due attention to the above facts, we request that necessary action be taken to avoid the injustice done to the students who are following home economics as a subject in the secondary school and to the relevant staff.

A citizen, Dehiwala.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Kapruka -
Sri Lanka

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