|Wednesday, 03 November 2004|
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However much that the average citizens write to police authorities, writes to newspapers or complain to other authorities the Three Wheeler drivers seem to be a law unto them. The police is either ultra inefficient or collaborating with them.
On several occasions, about two to three months ago, a few of us wrote to the officers-in-charge of Piliyandala Police, Maharagama Police and the Nugegoda Police regarding the under-mentioned matters.
We waited patiently observing to see whether there would be any action taken to change the obnoxious pattern of behaviour of the three wheeler drivers but to no avail. Hence this letter.
* Parking three-wheelers at road junctions hindering the free flow of traffic from the feeder road to the main road and vice versa.
The three-wheeler drivers all over Colombo and its environs make it a habit to park the three wheelers from the very mouth of the feeder road, in a queue, at all times.
It is particularly bad at morning and evening rush hours. Very often, the nose wheel of the leading three-wheeler is more into the main road. This makes it very hazardous to the drivers of other vehicles making an entry into the main road from the feeder road.
Especially, if he/she is attempting to turn left as he/she cannot blend into the leftward flowing traffic of the main road from the very edge of the left hand side of the feeder road because three-wheelers are occupying this corner. He/she has to go well into the main road interrupting the main road traffic and turn left.
The Highway Code stipulates that there should be a certain distance free of any parked vehicles from any T-junction. (However, of course, invoking the Highway Code is of no use in Sri Lanka).
This type of parking can be seen at the T junctions of Horana Road-Diwulapitiya/Bellanwila Road at Diwulapitiya, Horana Road-Maharagama Road at Bokundara, Bokundara Road-Piliyandala Road at Arawwala, Pagoda Road-First Cross Street, and any other such T-junctions all over the place.
* Three-wheeler drivers going in the wrong direction on the lane meant for left ward traffic to park at their stand. This regularly happens at the intersection of the Horana Road and Papiliyana Road near the Sunethra Devi Pirivena.
The three-wheeler drivers who come from the direction of Raththanapitiya on the Horana Road to park at their stand on the Papiliyana Road, by the side of the Temple take the lane meant for the leftward traffic from the Papilyana Road to the Horana Road.
This causes grave difficulties to those who are attempting to get into the Horana Road using this lane in the legitimate manner. However, this behaviour is not only confined to this particular junction alone. We see it all over the place.
The worst part of these happenings is that -
* Police officers on duty nearby completely ignore them.
* Even after concerned citizens write to the OICs of the police stations in these areas, there is no change.
* The three-wheeler drivers abuse, cast nasty remarks and even loudly say that the other driver is descended from the canine species or street walking ladies. Of course, they have spared us the worst insult, that we are descended from the politicians!
Many readers are pointing out the interruption to our lives with the regular power cuts from the CEB. I like to point out not only that we have power cuts, we also have frequent breakdowns, sometime we get low voltage and the equipment in our shops and homes too are destroyed.
We have no one to complain and we are not paid for the damages made by the power supply and breakdowns which happen everyday sometimes two or three times in the evening when we want to use electricity for lighting.
I have seen many advertisements in the newspapers asking for the leasing of cars by the CEB for the use of the engineers and when a breakdown happens, there is no CEB linesman to repair the line. When we ask the reply we get is that CEB breakdown van has gone out or it's under repair. Why can't the CEB buy more vans and give a quick breakdown service. Why only cars for CEB engineers.
I have also seen fuses on the concrete pole for the lines have been put with galvanised wire tied with two stones without having proper fuses.
Sometimes the fuse boxes on the road have no lock on the door or in some they have no door with the wires hanging out on the pavement making it dangerous for people and schoolchildren who use the road.
It is very annoying to see that the CEB engineers are protesting asking for new power stations and dancing on the road when we are suffering because they are not able to give a good power supply which will not go out two to three times a day.
I hope the CEB will be pulled up for this bad maintenance and have all current lines on the street properly repaired, as I think this will provide us with electricity supply which will not breakdown two to three times a day.
Please, take some action to get the CEB to give us proper service without supporting them to build more power stations as like what the other people have said what is the use of power stations, if we can't have electricity in our homes without breakdowns.
R. M. MOHIDEEN
Recently it was published in some newspapers certain photographs of a few railway employees who were relaxing comfortably seated on chairs that were placed on railway tracts obstructing the trains to proceed, during a protesting campaign that was launched by them and the dispute may have been peacefully resolved by the Railway authorities and the employees subsequently.
Apparently, this reminds me of a similar incident narrated by my late grandfather who was also an employee of the Railway Department yesteryear and I presume it's worthwhile repeating it for recording as the way the dispute, at that time resolved, was not in the normal way that we often witness these days.
According to him, when the said strike was launched, late Sir John Kotelawala one of the leading and brave politicians that our country had, was holding the ministerial portfolio of the Transport Ministry and even the engine drivers had participated in the strike, the entire railway movement was totally pushed to a terrible standstill.
As the negotiations that had taken place by the representatives of the employees and the administrators had shown no effective measures the signs of resolving the dispute were not seen even at far-sight and consequently the Minister had decided as a temporary measurer, at least to route a few trains by employing some casual workers.
Nevertheless, due to finding of engine drivers among casuals had not been possible, he had taken a stern action of importing the required number of drivers from aborad to fulfil his objective. Having observed that this strong Minister would not fail in his endeavour, the striking team too had been preparing for a sterner attitude in case if the foreign drivers do interfere.
On arrival of the drivers arrangements were made to route a few trains and accordingly they were dispatched along with the other casual employees to the place where the permanent drivers halted the train engines before they went on strike.
The strikers who had known that this would happen had also gone to the said scene and when the imported drivers had got into the engines to move them, had obstructed by resting themselves across the railway tracts not permitting the engines to be moved even an inch. The news of the latest cause of action of the strikers had reached the Minister.
No time was spared by him to take the counter course of action. An Order has left the Ministry with the signature of Sir John Kotelawala to the foreign drivers to bring the engines to the respective stations, if the protesters do not move from the railway tracts exactly after half an hour of receiving the said Order by them.
Twenty-five minutes had passed with no change of the situation and on the 26th minute the new drivers had got into the engines to comply with the request of the Minister. Even the strikers had known what would be the next consequences. They had no alternative but to surrender and thus called off the said protest.
H. H. SHANTHA DE SILVA
Both N. de. Silva of Rajagiriya and U. Weerasingha of Kohuwala have complained that the Senior Citizens' Identity Card (SCIC) issued by the Social Services Dept (SSD) is not recognised for priority treatment at most government institutions.
Most senior citizens are not aware that the SSD has started issuing SCIC and as a result most of those who would like to get the identity cards have not been able to do so. Hence Director SSD should,
1. Make a general announcement in both print and electronic media explaining the procedure (which should be simple and cause the minimum inconvenience to them) to be followed.
2. Inform all relevant institutions that the SCIC should be accepted for priority treatment,
3. Accept the national identity card for the purpose until SCIC are issued to all.
4. Instruct all institutions to prominently display a notice announcing that senior citizens are given priority, so that the others waiting for attention will not complain and kick up a row with the management.
5. Release copies of the above instructions to all the media, so that everybody will be properly informed of the programme and nobody can plead ignorance.
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