|Monday, 26 May 2003|
Please forward your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org in plain text format within the e-mail message, since as a policy we do not open any attachments.
It is a shame if not a disgrace to charge VAT from patients seeking treatment from private nursing homes. The government is obliged to provide free health service to every citizen in this country. This indirect charge in itself is a violation of a citizen's right to free health service!
Secondly, consider the enormous cost benefit to the govt. by the thousands of patients not seeking treatment at govt. hospitals. Could it cope with the situation where all those patients who go to private nursing homes to get warded or consult a doctor, start queuing up at govt. hospitals? What would be the enormous cost to the govt. to provide facilities to this influx of patients?
Some of these requirements that the govt. is mercifully spared of are: salaries and allowances of additional doctors and all other staff, additional infrastructure, beds, linen, food, drugs, lab tests, scans, x-rays, dialysers, operations, electricity, water etc. The list goes on. Over the years the govt. has not significantly expanded the infrastructure and facilities to meet the increase in population. There is hardly any improvement from the 1960s or 70s. (not counting the now exorbitant, profit-oriented Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital).
It seems that successive governments have constructively pushed even the poorer sector of the population to seek private nursing care even though they could hardly afford it, due to shortage of beds, drugs and several months long waiting for operations. A huge burden for the govt. both administrative and financial has been absorbed by the private patient. As such, is it ethical for the govt to charge a Value Added Tax on top of an exorbitant hospital bill, from the patient who is already physically, mentally and financially drained!
It is not a vacation in a luxury hotel for a patient to be charged VAT. If a patient unfortunately doesn't leave the hospital alive, still the bill has to be settled by the relations. In such a situation is it a value added service? Yes, to the govt. as it is one problem less, but not to the loved ones.
If the govt. cannot provide a decent health service to all its citizens, which is touted as 'free health service' during election time, it should in fact subsidise at least part of the bill instead of penalising the patient. Therefore with the ever-increasing doctors and nursing home changes, the least the patient, expect is the removal of VAT from hospital bills and private consultations.
No patient would want to feel that his misery has been exploited in the form of a VAT which goes to fill the govt. coffers to provide luxury cars and fixing so-called educational tours to a lucky few. It's time to launch a Citizens' Front to safeguard the patient from exploitation both by the private sector and the govt.
SARATH JAYAKURU - Colombo 5
The several well patronised Sathosa Supermarket outlets managed by the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment, promoted with great enthusiasm and immense publicity, the Sathosa Savers' Club Card to their numerous customers, highlighting and emphasising the fact that customers could avail themselves of a special discount on purchases made from any of the Sathosa Supermarket outlets. In fact extremely enthusiastic sales staff were seen at the Sathosa Supermarket at Rajagiriya, eagerly distributing relevant attractive leaflets and ardently motivating their customers to purchase these Sathosa Savers' Club Cards, on a cash payment of Rs. 150.00 which payment entitles any consumer to three years membership.
Many consumers visiting the numerous Sathosa Supermarkets have purchased these Sathosa Savers' Club Cards and these customers have been informed that they will be entitled to avail themselves of the bonus points or discount, after a lapse of three months from the date of purchase of the Sathosa Savers' Club Card.
I too purchased this card at the beginning of January 2003 and therefore I am too now entitled to redeem the bonus points, on purchases made by me within the past five months, which entitles me too to approximately 2% of my total purchases during the aforesaid period.
However, to my utter surprise and dismay, the sales staff at the Sathosa Supermarket have given various excuses, such as the computer machine or terminal necessary for making the appropriate refunds has not been yet installed at the Sathosa Supermarket, Rajagiriya premises and that the sales staff has not been instructed by their superiors, to provide any discounts or rebates to Sathosa Savers' Club Card holders.
However, I have been made to understand by the sales staff, that I am now entitled to nearly Rs. 900.00, as bonus points and that I can make use of this sum when the appropriate machine is installed.
I understand that an information technology company, Sathosa supermarket and a Sri Lanka Bank with a heart are actively engaged in this profitable operation and therefore I trust this letter of mine, which is in fact written on behalf of many other customers, who have been deprived of this privilege and benefit of utilising the bonus point or discount, will attract the attention of the Chairman or General Manager - Retail Sales Division of the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2. Consumers are eagerly awaiting the installation of required computer machine or terminal, but when will this be done?
Is it correct for Sathosa Supermarket to deceive their customers in this manner or delay the provision of benefits accrued by the customers since the inauguration of this programme?
Or is Sathosa strictly adhering to their sales slogan, highlighting the fact these kind of things happen only at "Sathosa where else"?
I wish to mention another aspect as well, with regard to the name used for the card. The name of the card should be "Sathosa Savers' Club Card and not "Sathosa Saver's Club Card", as incorrectly printed. This club is made up of not only by one saver but by many savers. This is similar to the name "Employees' Provident Fund" and not "Employee's Provident Fund.
NALAKA WEERAMAN - Ethul Kotte
I was surprised to read the news report in the Daily News of 17 April 2003 relating to the culpability of the GMR resulting from his alleged personal supervision of the reconstruction work on Batticaloa line beyond Valaichchenai when referring to the special team appointed by the Hon. Minister to probe the derailment.
The appointment was a deviation from the duly constituted 'major or minor board' as specifically laid down in Departmental regulations to investigate into such occurrences, presumably in justification of the urgency of the need to fix responsibility.
In the face of the denial in refutation of the contents of the news report as appearing in statement given by the GMR in the Daily News of 22 April, 2003 exculpating himself from blame attributed to him, one wonders what the special probe team revealed on the investigation carried out by it! It is a very relevant aspect.
If what the GMR has expressed - that the work was not carried out under his supervision but by the Chief Way and Works Engineer's representative, the District Engineer of the Eastern district, who had also issued the relevant certificate for the passage of trains after due completion of work, then the contents of the news report carried in the Daily News of 17 April, 2003 are questionable.
On the other hand, whoever directed the Railway authorities to complete the track restoration work to enable commuters to use the train service during the New Year holidays is also answerable.
'Haste makes waste' and if suitable track materials were not appropriately utilised for the reconstruction work in order to resume the abandoned train service during the New Year holidays those responsible for the supervision and the issue of the relevant certificate for safe passage of trains should be dealt with for negligence.
There is also another specific matter relating to safety of trains using the Valaichchenai rail-cum-road bridge.
If the longitudinal timbers over which the rails are located have not been inspected and replaced for issue of the certificate before passage of trains, there is likely to be a derailment over the bridge caused by the fast deterioration of the longitudinal timbers had they not been duly replaced before resumption of the train service.
These area are a few matters I expect the authorities concerned to pay heed to and take appropriate action.
S. AMARASURIYA - Ex. GMR
I was very happy to hear that the Government is seriously considering reimposing the death sentence. The crime wave has escalated to very great heights.
It is the duty of any government in power to strictly enforce and maintain law and order, so that all innocent citizens will be safeguarded and protected. There has been too many people taking the law into their hands, and it is time that law and order should be very strictly enforced.
In the past we have seen too much of bloodshed and since the war has come to an end, this culture which has crept into our society should be completely eradicated. I hope all politicians will rally round and support this bill and I hope the so called patriotic, liberating politicians will stop their platform "Kaivaruwa" to gain cheap popularity, as we should not get religion mixed up with the death penalty.
Let us stop talking and get down to serious business and support this Bill. If you have not committed any rape or murder, why are you against this Bill? and if you are against the bill, you are sympathisers of these criminals.
LI KUANG SHU - Kandy
The daily papers have highlighted the good news of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank and the Government of Japan consenting to make a available credit facilities to re-commence structural reforms and development activities.
A colossal amount of funds have been allocated by these foreign agencies. On the strength of this, the Government realising, although late, the misuse of foreign funds and to minimise wastage has requested, according to papers, the Secretaries of the respective Ministries to curtail unnecessary expenditure and ensure submission of quarterly reports relating to development activities and taken a decision to disburse funds in instalments through the Treasury. This is a laudable step.
However, my experience as a Government Servant who has served the Government for 46 years is that it is not the Secretaries who are responsible for wastage or squandering of funds but the respective Ministers and Members of the Provincial Councils who have to be solely responsible for misuse and wastage of funds. It has to be accepted that Secretaries are working under watertight compartments as most of the Ministers do not give written instructions to them with regard to release of funds for their activities which do not comply with the regulations in the Financial Regulations (FR), Administrative Regulations (AR) and Departmental Circulars. Hence instructions by the Minister with regard to release of funds for construction activities etc. have to be in Minute Form and not verbally.
It is a fact that Secretaries are compelled to carry out verbal instructions of this category as otherwise their posts will be filled by others overnight. It is observed that construction work of any item, whether it be a building or road is of very inferior quality. These are facts and cannot be denied. People are quite aware of this situation since the inception of independence. Hence action has to be taken to keep away the parliamentarians from handling finances, if the desired goals are to be achieved. However their requirements may be accommodated if they are within the regulations of the FR.
Or in the alternative re-introduce the services of one or two senior civil servants to deal with structural reforms and re-construction work, who will I am confident not dance to any tune of parliamentarians but sustain the dignity of service by strictly following the procedures of the FR and AR and ensure an efficient service as they have nothing to lose even if their services were terminated overnight.
Herbert Silva, Moratumulla.
Reference the letter (Daily News) I wish if the kind doctor could further give some details about an egg a day advice.
Certain people are advised to take an egg a day. Some are asked to take an egg every other day while yet others are advised and warned not to take more than 2 eggs a week.
The babies are given little, a teaspoon of the white and increased gradually. My good doctor, a well-known neuro physician, who practices in Colombo, has advised me to take only 2 eggs a week. I am in my seventies.
We think the good doctor who wrote in your paper about the advice could give some more details for the benefit of so many.
The advice offered in the Lake House papers, especially the Daily News, is read by more people in Sri Lanka as it is the largest and widely circulated daily paper in Sri Lanka which is also read by a large section of people in other countries including Sri Lanka.
V. K. B. RAMANAYAKE, Maharagama
My Alma Mater
You nurtured my intellect
Produced by Lake House