|Wednesday, 3 September 2003|
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Some major programmes have been announced which the Government expects to take up and implement as a result of the peace process and the favourable responses of the donors through the pledges given by them.
Spelling out programmes for implementation if funds are available is easy. The difficult part is their actual implementation, and this is where the country has failed in the past. Donor funds have been under-utilized, mainly due to poor implementation. It is therefore important that the programmes planned are translated into well-developed action plans with target dates and mechanism strategies for implementation. The implementation itself should be effectively monitored at the levels of the project, line agency, and the centre.
The Ministry of Policy Planning and Implementation through its operations room, and the National Budget Department, have recently developed sophisticated computerised and online systems for monitoring donor funded and domestic funded projects respectively. Both agencies should ensure that these systems are effectively put into action, and that speedy remedial action is taken for shortfalls in implementation.
The heads of the respective line agencies and the project officers should, in turn ensure that their projects are effectively monitored and implemented on the target dates, and that reasons for any shortfalls are identified and speedily resolved.
Only if the programmes spelt out are effectively and efficiently implemented could the people of this country receive their share of the peace.
After reading the article by Padma Edirisinghe (DN 14th Aug), I thought of making a few comments.
She had referred to the famous obituary by Dr. Riley Fernando on the demise of Mr. D. E. M. O. Cracy (democracy), " inserted after the UNP had lost the elections". If the elections history of Sri Lanka is taken into account this is correct. UNP lost the elections in 1970 and the obituary was inserted in 1974. However this could give the wrong impression (especially among those who were born after 70s) that the obituary notice (inserted by Dr. Fernando) is a result of the UNP's loss. The fact is that the obituary was inserted when the then government banned political rallies by the opposition, sealed a Group of Newspapers and imposed other emergency measures, such as 24-hour curfew. People thought these would lead to "death of democracy".
When reading about "white flag flying in a plummeted valley" as a method of announcement of a death, what came to my mind was that there are somewhat similar "local" methods, which are being followed even in the urban areas today. In Christian churches the bell is rung according to a certain pattern when one of their members pass away. Not only members of the church, even the people living in the locality would come to know the death of a person because of the pattern, the bell is rung.
Another method of announcement is through a drummer. A drummer is hired to read out the obituary in the village/hamlet, so that those in the area will come to know the death. This method is adopted when the target group is only those living in the area. However this method is not popular today. The other methods are handbills & posters.
Police reports reveal that there are many accidents taking place on the highway due to drunken driving.
This is a matter hard to check unless involved in an accident where the driver is found to be under the influence of liquor.
Since the penalty for drunken driving is very negligible, it has failed as a deterrent punishment. Most drivers when prosecuted for drunken driving, pay the fine and take it easy.
Alcohol stimulates the nervous system and retards the power of taking quick decisions to avert an accident. It also produces a pseudo courage (Dutch courage) for speed, recklessly, which does not happen when sober. Therefore, the toll of human life and suffering exacted by motor vehicles is enormous and the destruction wrought is increasing daily.
Today, motor traffic is so inextricably woven into the fabric of modern life, that its ill-effects are impossible to eradicate by punishment alone.
The prevention of road accidents is purely a matter for the Traffic Police, which attempts to regulate standards of driving by educating drivers about the importance of the highway code.
Nothing impresses one's driving standard more than the sight of a Traffic 'cop' on duty on the street, or better still when seen through the driving mirror.
What is needed is to impose heavy fines on errant drivers, the minimum being Rs. 25,000 per offence. The penalty must be so felt, not to drink while at the wheel.
Some accidents are due to blameworthy conduct on the part of the drivers, but many mishaps are due to split-second lapses of care, momentary errors of judgment, human frailty, unworthy roads and weather conditions.
Road accidents are the inevitable result of putting the power of hundred horses into frail human hands.
So, let every driver take to heart that drunken driving is a welcome disaster for him, as well those who travel with him, notwithstanding other users of the road who are easily vulnerable to accidents.
How many drivers, who died of accidents, ever knew that such an unfortunate incident lay ahead for them, to leave their kith and kin, and depart from this world, never to meet them again? SAFETY FIRST IS THE BEST POLICY
I have been a frequent visitor to India and needing a visit visa to travel again obtained a form from the website of the Indian High Commission trotted off to queue up outside the embassy for three hours. When the form was handed over to my amazement I was told that the passport had to have a validity of six months beyond the date of travel.There is nothing wrong with such a queer regulation, what was totally wrong was that there was no hint of this either in the form or the website. My whole day was wasted and to add insult to injury the personnel were very rude.
Now for an Indian visits Sri Lanka it is smooth sailing, he lands here and is ushered in with a visa stamped with no questions asked - welcome to paradise buddy, but to Sri Lankans who want to return the compliment it is a three-hour wait in the queue outside and shoddy treatment inside.
Television advertising nowadays leaves much to be desired. It is true that telecasting stations earn their revenue, only from advertising. No advertisements - No TV. However, over-advertising can become negative advertising. When an ad. is shown, it should be shown in a way that it attracts a viewer and not irritate him. When the same advert is shown repeatedly (sometimes back to back), it not only becomes stale, it can irritate a prospective customer. This effect can certainly be counter productive to the purpose of advertising.
TV viewers request advertisers to show short adverts that give the message in a subtle way. Instead of making one minute ad., one can make two 30 second ads. This way, advertising costs also can be kept low. Noisy ads. with yelling announcements certainly do not attract viewers. Certain channels show ads in a corner of the screen, in a subtle way, while the film is being shown. This is a very good way of advertising a product, without annoying viewers. It is also less costly for the advertisers. This method may be promoted.
Certain Western soaps are shown only three minutes between commercials, prompting viewers to say "Oh! Not the ads again!" Some shows start 30 minutes late, due to the ads. Viewers may avoid watching certain shows due to these facts.
What does SLT expect from all those huge colour notices in the press? Is it trying to fool its subscribers that the tariff revision from September 1 was done to benefit them?
SLT is famous for promising something completely different from what they are providing. Latest are the ADSL service and the tariff revision. Many of its subscribers are not provided with much talked about facilities such as Caller Line Identification (CLI) and Alarm Call service.
To obtain a Detailed bill one has to wait for months or for ever. Shifting of a telephone would take months.
What is Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) doing about these, other than entertaining complaints and view from the public?
Without going into technical, environmental or economical details can we know why the Government is reluctant to go for electricity generation using coal?
Very strangely this issue comes up all of a sudden and then disappear in the same manner while everybody who is somebody agrees that this is the most acceptable process for generating power in the country. There have been proposals from foreign parties to start coal power generating plants on built, operate and own basis. What has happened to all these proposals, studies etc? What or who is the invisible hand chucking up all these and promote oil plants.
Are the authorities genuinely interested in solving the problems of power shortages or the expensive power generation? Is the reason for this situation that certain individuals are better off with the present system which spends billions of rupees on oil?
The writer from Matara may not be aware that flexi time is a very successful way of improving the working conditions of the Public Service. 'Flexi time' as the writer explained is not to allow the Public servants to run amok during working hours. Most Western countries are using this flexi time to help the employees and has improved the services to the maximum.
Flexi time should be earned by the employee by working more hours than he should perform during a day's work. To get a day off under the flexi time the employee should work the normal time of work for a day within a given period. In some government departments in Australia they allow one flexi day per month and in some Departments they allow three days per month.
In a country like Sri Lanka where the employees are burden with many hardships, introduction of a flexi time may work well as the employee may use this day to attend to his extra chores without taking time off on the run to do those work.
The Minister should introduce a time clock or a strict signing system if he likes to introduce this Flexi Time in the public service.
Once the employees get a good taste of this system it will work very well. Sri Lanka is on the correct track to improve the public service.
UPASIRI DE SILVA,
With regard to the article above, I went through all the details have been given to construct this Highway. My major concern is that Sri Lanka is having major accidents due to human error. This catastrophic element cannot be wiped out unless the traffic discipline toughened up.
I have a great suggestion to prevent any accidents that happen in highways to construct medium barriers all the way to Matara.
I have been living in New Zealand for 15 years and here most of the roads are motorways and every motorway are split with medium barriers. Most importantly the speed limit has been shown on signs on the side of the Motorway. Perhaps, it's not appropriate to an excess of 100km/ph + on the Motorway, the reason being that the vehicle cannot control such speed.
I hope that so-called authorities who are responsible to construct this Highway consider to add the barrier, so that the drivers and the passengers are safer to reach their destination.
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