|Monday, 10 November 2003|
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At present, the above Act is being rigidly enforced in most of the towns.
However, it is a common sight that some shop owners flagrantly flout this law and keep their shops open, and as usual, the law abiding shop owners put up the shutters completely.
The idea, no doubt, is to allow a day off to the shop employees weekly.
The exceptions being eating houses, pharmacies and surprisingly, liquor shops. Perhaps the last item falls into the category of food and beverages.
Surely, as stated above, the enforcement of this Act is to provide the weekly off day and certainly not to inconvenience the general public.
However, when every shop in the town is closed, which an outsider may not be aware of, the consumers are definitely inconvenienced.
To overcome this, why not we enact legislation whereby the shops are kept open throughout but the shop employees are given their rightful weekly off days in rotation so that no one is affected, i.e. the shop owner, employee and the consumer.
In fact, this could be extended to the office as well and serious consideration should be given to this taking into consideration the very large number of holidays the country is enjoying at present.
Offices need not be completely closed as at present, and those who have work and wish to work on off days should be allowed to do so.
The weekly off day need not be necessarily given within the following 7 days as the law provides. No payment need be made for working on the off days but the employee concerned could be allowed to accumulate the leave in lieu of the weekly off days and avail same as and when leave is required.
After all, over the years, we have deviated from several acts enacted during the Colonial days and this should not be too difficult to change, in the interests of all concerned.
In the recent past there have been numerous newspaper reports of action being taken by the National Child Protection Authority against child abuse by adults as well as school teachers.
There are many students who are little children and are constantly harassed by their teachers and students of higher grades including so called Prefects. These students would be only too willing to complain if they know to whom and where to complain.
Even the telephone directory does not list the NCPA. I suggest the NCPA to publish its address in all three media on a regular basis.
CHANDRASIRI ATUKORALA - Piliyandala
Banning or imposing a tax on plastics is not a decision taken in the right direction. 'Sili Sili' bag is the only thing available for the average person to carry his day to day requirements and the thin polythene sheet is the only item available for the poor worker to take his meals for the workplace. These polythene items should not be banned because those in indigent circumstances will be adversely affected.
It is also envisaged to levy a tax on imported plastics material. This move will hit the plastics industry because those in the plastics business will be compelled to jack up their products.
There will then be a drop in demand for plastic containers and business gets affected as a result. Then the factory owners will resort to retrenchment or reduction of staff. It will aggravate the unemployment problem thus causing embarrassment to the Government which now depends on the private sector for generating employment. Of course, the environment should be preserved, protected and conserved. The authorities concerned should find out alternative methods of disposing of plastic waste such as by chemically dissolving them or re-cycling.
Research should be carried out in these areas without adopting the path of least resistance by banning or taxing plastics.
D.P. GANKANDA - Polgasowita
The recent news item that Sihala Urumaya members attack cultural show is causing serious concern amongst the peace loving public.
The latter had given their verdict against the Sihala Urumaya in no unmistakable terms at the last general election and it is up to the Government to round up these antisocial and racist groups without delay.
Recent counter feed back to the peace process by vested interests have reduced the peace process to be skating on very thin ice.
D.C. SOSA - Negombo
The practice of 'Strewing' sea sand preceding funeral processions has no religious significance or connotation whatever at all, (as confirmed now by many devout Buddhists) should give spontaneous and serious thought reaction with much practicality as approach to the supposedly meaningless disregard and the dismay of all environmentalists of the 'marring', 'scarring', 'pock-marking' of all our golden beaches.
Erosion with 'a helping hand' is also another serious and pathetic factor giving alarm and dismay and "Unsettlement" to the poor fisherman and his family settlement.
It is also on many occasions when motorcyclists (especially on the long distance runs) and light vehicles have gone clean across the road minus control and mishap (sic), records on 'causes of accidents' may give us more statistics on account of 'sand-coating' of roads, possibly.
Lastly and as important which I am sure many 'City Fathers' will endorse much reduction of road work and sweeping will ensue.
A big humble plea to the highly venerated and honoured religious Orders of the land plus all religious dignitaries and, of course, the road maintenance authorities and the Municipalities, to see our roads get more ready and roadworthy for more rapid and modern technology and growth to come.
W. MEADOWS - Nelumpura
In the good old days the price of a loaf of bread did not vary from shop to shop, nor from town to town not even from district to district. Everywhere the price of bread remained static and the weight of the loaf of bread was unique.
Recently I wanted to buy a loaf of bread on my way home from Colpetty from a very old and famous bakery and I was shocked to hear the price at Rs. 24/-.
Of course only one variety of bread was available at the time and it was sliced and wrapped in polythene. On another day I bought a loaf of bread from Bambalapitiya Junction which they charged me Rs. 17. The quality of the bread was so poor I could not use the following day and I had to dump it in the garbage. Bread is a very important food item and consumed by mostly the poor.
Therefore a strict control on the price of bread and the quality is important. I learnt that the consumer can seek redress for their grievances from the Consumer Affairs Authority which has been set up under the consumer protection act enacted on March 17 this year. If this is correct let this catch the eye of the authorities and remedial measures taken.
M. T. A. P. FERNANDO - Rawatawatte.
With the concept of Mahapola for education and the EPV for economic regeneration, late Lalith Athulathmudali had a vision for the future of this country. Mahapola which is contributing to the poor undergraduates still holds a stable foundation in the sphere of education. Even the private sector has identified the Mahapola as a sustainable investment in education under the liberal economy. In the same manner, EPV Scheme once launched as an experiment by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board has focused the attention of the private sector in recent times. When the Government is placing the private sector as the main engine of economic growth, it is welcome that private companies have come forward to invest in enterprises such as the EPVs which are mainly instruments of rural economic growth. With the breakdown of the Cancun Trade Negotiations, the trend of globalization is bending towards regeneration of agro-based industries.
Since Sri Lanka is identified as an agricultural country, it is very prudent that the development of agro-based industries are given priority. Although Sri Lanka earns 52% of export income from garments, the machinery spares, and the thread makes it up a total import of 100% so far. In the event agricultural industrial export is patronaged there is a potential employment generation equal to the garment sector. The objective of the EPV scheme was to meet the challenging unemployment problem in rural areas. It is prudent that this concept has got the attention in recent times.
What happens at Galgamuwa, the EPV has a partnership with the private sector in the production of fruit products for export. We have a history of EPVs going back to EPV Dambadeniya with chilly production, where there has been a high profit margin recorded. Fruit and vegetable cultivation are principally located in the Dry Zone, especially in the adjacent regions of the Mahaweli. It is a great leap taken forward in the EPV Scheme under the prevailing trade environment to harness potential agricultural development in the Dry Zone. The food processing plant, drying mechanism and the preparation of beverages from fresh fruit are remarkable technological innovations of our times. There have been talented managerial skills both from the private sector and the public sector to launch an ambitious programme of this nature. With the patronage of the Ministry of Enterprise Development, Rural Industry and Agriculture this sort of agro based industries are going to be challenging innovations to face the expectations of the rural population of this country.
BANDULA NONIS - Colombo 02
It has been reported in the media that an impeachment motion is to be moved in parliament shortly against the Chief Justice. Even on an earlier occasion when the parliament tried to impeach the Chief Justice I pointed out through Daily News that the supremacy lies with the people (the voters in Sri Lanka) and not with the M.PP. (Members of Parliament) because the M.PP are only the delegates of the voters.
When the independency of the Judiciary is lost the supremacy of the voters get lost automatically.
It is better to amend the Sri Lanka Constitution if there are any articles in that constitution which are unfavourable to the government without punishing the judges who interpreted it correctly.
Therefore as an ordinary citizen who is also a registered voter in Sri Lanka appeal to the government please hands off the judiciary.
A. L. J. RANASOORIYA - Nugegoda
This is in reply to the letter on the above (DN, Oct.28)
Oxford dictionary explains 'Conversion' as 'the action or process of converting 'and the 'convert' is in turn defined as 'persuade somebody to change their beliefs' or 'cause to change an attitude or belief' among other meanings.
"Unethical 'is defined as 'not morally acceptable; or not based on moral principles'.
Therefore the phrase "unethical conversions" brings about the meaning "Immoral persuasion to change one's belief' and can not therefore be termed as an oxymoron.
A. G. RANAWAKA - Kadawata.
The letter by PBP of Colombo (DN, Oct. 13) suggests that night trains operating on the Habarana-Trincomalee line must be suspended, to prevent cruel slaughter of elephants.
It looks a bit funny because, nowhere in the world, night trains are suspended to save wild animals moving in the night, being knocked down by trains. Night trains must run for the convenience of passengers who prefer to travel in the night, to reach their destinations in the morning.
The word 'slaughter' is not the appropriate word involving an accident. Slaughter means killing of animals for food, or wanton or inexcusable killing or butchery. When an animal is run over by a vehicle, it does not mean slaughter. The only empirical solution to the problem is for the engine driver to be more on the alert, than now, and prevent a mishap.
What PBP has suggested is similar to 'cutting the nose to prevent smell'. The fault is in the railway for encroaching into wild territory, where the wild beasts have the freedom to move about, either in the day or the night.
This matter can be better handled by the Wild Life Department in controlling the movement of elephants in the jungle.
ARYADASA RATNASINGHE - Mattegoda
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