|Tuesday, 21 October 2003|
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This was a heading of a news item (DN, Oct. 15). The Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) is to implement a scheme to improve discipline in schools. Very laudable effort.
This brings to mind another news item (DN Apr.24) about "Students' moral development societies" which were to be set up in the government schools in the North Western Province.
While appreciating all these efforts at least by a few individuals, it is a sad thing that nobody goes into the routes of all these evils. Without eliminating the routes we try to cut off the trees every time it come up.
Will we see an end to this? Why do not we try to first discipline our elders who bring all these bad things to the minds and sight of children? Why has everybody allowed our media - specially state and private TV and radio stations to force vulgar, crude and improper scenes, slang and mixed languages into the children's heads almost twenty-four hours a day. This is one major thing we have to control if we want to have discipline and moral values.
DESHAPRIYA RAJAPAKSHA, Colombo 6
It is reported that there are about 4-5 fatal traffic accidents taking place everyday in Sri Lanka. In all cases, the victims are the poor and the helpless such as the schoolchildren, innocent villagers, pedestrians, passengers waiting for the ever crowded buses and the poverty stricken ordinary people of this country. These vehicles are driven by the indisciplined drivers, politicians and their children, newly rich businessmen and of late cricket super stars.
These accidents are caused by the drivers, for the vehicles do not run automatically. Sri Lanka is a small country. Our roads are narrow. We cannot drive fast. Our drivers never observe speed limits and the Police also do not check adequately on the errant drivers. Vehicles have brakes to stop. But for the poor pedestrian, there is no escape from vehicle coming at high speed.
The drivers are easily bailed out and if found guilty of reckless driving will be subject to several years prison sentence.
But for the victims and the family there is no justice done. If the breadwinner of a family dies, his family has to undergo untold hardships.
This system of "justice" is totally unacceptable. Why should a poor family suffer for life, just because a drunken driver has mowed down their breadwinner? The poor family has no wherewithal to go to Courts and ask for compensation. They cannot pay the lawyers fees.
I think the entire concept of "traffic accidents" should be changed for the protection of the victims, the innocent party. These laws were enacted a time, when there were hardly any fatal accidents in our country. The situation has changed now drastically. The vehicles have become killer machines.
Hence the laws should be amended to the effect that if a person who causes an accident death, to pay an adequate sum of, say Rs. 1,000,000/- to the victim's family within a month. This is the blood money as it is known in the Middle East and should be paid before the culprits are bailed out. We must understand that our Courts are far too slow. People have no time to waste in Courts for ages to get compensation. Our legal system is only to enrich the lawyers. Hence this remedy.
In addition to that, the driver concerned should be sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. This will certainly reduce traffic accidents.
You may say that an ordinary driver will not have Rs. 1.0 million to pay as compensation.
Well in that case, do not kill any one with your vehicle. As much as the money is precious to you, the life is precious to the other man. You have no right to knock him down and kill him. Why not get the Insurance to cover this risk?
All that is not necessary. Be careful and respect the human life. If you cannot follow this simple principle, DO NOT DRIVE.
I urge the Government to immediately revise the traffic laws of the country to incorporate the above provisions.
Further the Police must re-introduce roadblocks, this time to check on the road accidents and the errant drivers. If the Police do not have sufficient manpower, why not deploy the Army for this job, as the Army is relaxing now?
DHARMASIRI DE SILVA, Wadduwa.
Most pensioners who are in the category of Senior Citizens received low salaries at the time of retirement.
Hence the pensions they received were also small hardly adequate to meet the present high cost of living. Whatever emoluments they received from their employers were invested in Fixed Deposit accounts expecting to maintain themselves and their dependants with the interest earned.
During the recent years the interest rates have been reduced drastically causing much hardships to pensioners.
I too suggest that a Fixed Deposit scheme should be established by the Government for the welfare of Senior Citizens. If National Savings Bank could increase their interest rate in this scheme to 14% p.a. (some Finance Companies pay this rate) all Senior Citizens would opt to join the scheme, in view of the safety of their monies in the Bank.
Documentary evidence should be produced before opening the account confirming that the pensioner is over 60 years of age. The period of maturity of the Fixed Deposit could be determined by the Bank. This scheme if implemented will no doubt enhance the business activities of the Bank.
S. J. NEWTON FERNANDO, Nugegoda.
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