|Wednesday, 20 October 2004|
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The initiative taken by the City Traffic Department to relieve human suffering even along a short length of road is highly commendable because it is so very rare for public servants in this country to do a job that is expected of them. The Traffic Department has demonstrated their sincerity and genuineness and also competence to do a job by testing the scheme with trial runs and requesting the public to give them ideas.
It is impossible to make any comments without a full layout (not to scale) of the scheme including details at entry and exit. All what I have heard is that the scheme has been suspended because of difficulties for traffic on the land-side carriageway to change to the sea-side carriageway along Galle Road at traffic lights.
If that is the only problem then my two cents worth contribution is to drive past the traffic lights and turn right to Duplication Road at the first opportunity and then right again to the traffic light junction.
Another alternative would be to adjust the traffic lights to allow traffic on the land-side carriageway to change to the sea-side carriageway by stopping the traffic on the sea-side carriageway. That procedure will also slow down the traffic on the land-side carriageway because it will be blocked by traffic changing carriageways.
In technical terms the first alternative is globally efficient achieved at the expense of a little trouble on the part of the driver.
That is how all globally efficient schemes should be. To give a good example the right turn to the carpark at the Majestic Plaza at Bambalapitiya for the convenience and comfort of the minuscule minority that uses that carpark for non-productive work at the expense of the northbound traffic from the entire Southern Province is morally reprehensible apart from the utter inefficiency of the arrangement.
Another suggestion is to restrict parking in areas that interfere with the smooth flow of traffic.
Please do not suspend the scheme. If the above ideas are acceptable please give advance publicity about right turns and implement the scheme. To add efficiency make the first land-side lane past each traffic lights one-way streets turning right.
The Social Services Department issues identity cards to citizens over 65 years of age.
The card states that holders are entitled to 'priority' in respect of the following services:
The National Health Service does not have a uniform policy in this regard. It is doubtful whether the NHS has issued instructions to its staff. The minor staff use their discretion whether to recognise the card or not. Some clinics at the OPD recognise it. The Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Clinic does not.
One day feeling particulary unwell, I presented the card to the minor employee manning the door to the Medical Officer's room. She said, "Wait, I will call you." Periodical reminders annoyed her. Eventually when I saw the Medical Officer she took note of my complaint but did nothing. Clear instructions should be issued to all sections of the NHS stating the 'priorities' card holders are entitled to. The 'priorities' should be displayed particularly at the OPD and all clinics.
The controllers at bus stations as well as conductors are not aware of this card. Here too clear instructions should be issued and displayed at bus and railway stations. In addition, a few seats should be reserved for card holders in buses and railway carriages.
Private banks generally recognise the card. But a Super Grade Branch of a State Bank at Borella does not. Sometime ago there was a long queue around noon at this branch. The Senior Officer on duty refused to give any priority when the card was presented. The reason he gave was that others in the queue would find fault with him.
The lady Manager to whom the complaint was made however was very obliging and helped personally.
Here again clear directives need to be issued and displayed.
There has been no occasion to test the other areas such as police and legal advice etc. Hence no comment is made.
The Buddhist tradition is to help the elderly. Indeed a society is judged by how it cares for the very young and the old. In Sri Lanka today especially in the cities, the law of the jungle prevails. The able bodied rule the roost.
Merely issuing a card serves little purpose. The Social Services Department and/or the Ministry must issue directives to those concerned to ensure due recognition of Senior Citizens' rights.
N. DE SILVA,
With the inconsolable passing away of Gamini Fonseka, the ace talented actor/director the Sinhala cinema ever had, it had created irreplaceable voids in many environs, where the enthusiastic lovers of the native films would look for him.
Apparently, even the film industry of our country would, no doubt, observe his departure as an isolation loss in the long run unless his productive interviews relevant to Sinhala cinema are reproduced in the appropriate medias in time and again as the next generation who would look forward in entering the film locations in whatever form would, absolutely, have not to learn still from this late giant philanthropist before they appear in any of the relevant scenes.
As a mark of respect to this great man it would, of course, be a paramount gratitude, if a film training institution could be established in his name with facilities to view his superb acting and direction and the views expressed by him on and off during the very many interviews he faced during his remarkable life span.
H. H. SHANTHA DE SILVA,
Produced by Lake House