|Wednesday, 3 March 2004|
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Peace is practically everybody's wish. The Government is obliged to provide conditions conducive to free, fair and peaceful elections. Hence, Government and the Executive is jointly be responsible to ensure that the general election is held in that wholesome atmosphere throughout the island. People do not want any lapses, breach of law and order in the country in the name of elections.
Blaming each other, trading of charges etc. is something least expected by the people. People would thank the Police for the excellent arrangements made for the acceptance of nominations upto February 24, with least incidents. It is also the utmost duty and responsibility of the leaders of all parties to instruct their candidates, supporters and sympathizers to be non-violent and democratic in word and action during the campaign, on the election day and thereafter.
President has been considerate in appointing National Advisory Council for curbing rising crime wave in the country. In the same way it is also necessary to take action to establish a Joint Peacekeeping Council for the duration of election campaign, on the election day and thereafter until election dust and excitement settles down. The Joint Peacekeeping Council should comprise with representatives from all major political parties and President to head the Council.
Considering the kind of controversial structure of the political leadership in the country right at the moment, the proposed Council is must and action is required to set up the Council with immediate effect in order to nip all crime and violence in the bud during the vulnerable period.
In such an event, the people and political parties would be relived of apprehensions on their security and right to vote peacefully. Such arrangements for the forthcoming general election promotes good relations, cooperation among the political parties and ensure due respect for human rights, allowing free, fair and peaceful general election in the country.
Sri Lanka's Armed Forces and Police are peacekeeping tools. Being loyal to the country, they are valuable resources of the nation. They are to be used in moderation without overdoses or misuse of public service.
One should not depend on the use of power to threaten or suppress political opponents. Some politicians are apt to ask for security as much large contingent as possible to provide security for them and their kith and kin at immense expense to the people. Such excesses would be over-indulgence in waste of resources.
Peacekeeping process for general election should be conducted conscientiously, without political biases or favouritism. It uses civil dialogue among the political partners and sparingly utilizes armed forces to assist in quelling any breach of peace. Neutrality and taking action in the interest of all concerned should be the prime guideline of the Council.
Incidents including acts of violence could take place in the provinces. They could be of various forms. Countrywide detachments of armed forces and police could be made use of for quicker action on the troublemakers. The supporters of defeated politicians could join in the path of violence and party infighting.
All such incidents could be well cared for more effectively when there is a Joint Peacekeeping Council is established.
I was astonished of an engineers suggestion to scrap off the long distance railways. In fact the backbone of any railway system should be the long distance railway system and some years ago the vertebrate column of our railways was the Northern Railways, which has been almost terminated since the inception of war.
This Northern Railways is a vertebrate column not only in railway line perspective but of political and physical integrity as well and the prevailing situation should be utilized through mediated negotiations (Japan offered to restore these railways) explaining the benefits to the concerned to regain all the Northern railways.
Secondly Southern railways should be extended up to Kataragama, allowing improved access for more pilgrims and for better tourism. Finally just application of the consumer protection laws for the commuters against errant railway authorities. Last June I recommended the Exhibition Car of the Kandy Intercity to two foreign friends that backfired at me and as a remedy, (despite holding the return journey reservations for three of us) such was the condition of the Exhibition Car, suggested the 2nd class of a normal train which was even worse that the wagon carrying us could not even prevent wetting of rain in the running train.
It is not the money that matters, the service provided to the money that matters. It is not Authority or Department that matters but the application of norms and principles that matters.
Dr. S. Mahadeva,
I fully agree with the content of the letter (DN Feb. 27). Considering the recent happenings, I am too wondering as to whether T. R. C(Telecommunication Regulatory Commission). is in existence for the benefit of the public or to protect and nourish the certain phone companies.
When the newly launched GSM network started the test launch by offering 11 minutes outgoing free and totally incoming free SIM card for a certain period, the T.R.C. intervened and took the company to course saying the offer was anti competitive.
The simple logic what we know is when there is competition the prices come down but this case when one company offers lower rates, T. R. C. rather than encouraging, takes the company to the courts simply because other companies voiced their displeasure.
Why can't the T.R.C. think about customers who are benefited when the prices come down? Other companies also should try to bring down the rates to match the competitor's rates rather than complaining.
Luckily the said package continued and for those who registered after the test period have totally incoming free facility now.
S. T. WARUSAWITHANA,
There has been a series of articles and comments by readers in the press recently on the misuse and abuse of academic titles. An article by Dr. J. A. Karunaratne titled 'Misuse and abuse of titles and credentials' (DN Feb. 12) engaged my thoughts on this matter particularly in view of the following assertion.
"I think what we need to do is not to fix ourselves alone on the titles of the people but to observe and regard the character, integrity, probity, virtue and wholeness of the person. That surely will reveal to us the true scholar distinct from bogus 'doctors'."
What a gem of a suggestion. I believe this test should equally apply not only to bogus 'doctors' who have received doctorates from fictitious 'international universities', but also to those who claim to have obtained their doctorates from prestigious universities.
We need not split hairs on such rhetorical questions if we follow the simple principle articulated by Dr. Karunaratne. The purpose of education is to improve attitudes and behaviour and enable one to interact with the environment productively to the benefit of all. Thus the quality of education would be reflected in the behaviour, integrity and virtues of the person. Let us recognize true scholars by their conduct and not worry too much about the appellations.
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