The LTTE shows novelties in many ways. It was recently reported that
the closure of the A 15 by the LTTE forced the Tamil civilians in
Vakarai to trek jungle terrain to reach cleared areas. Among the
civilians were the aged and the infirm, children and babes in arms and
This jungle trek through rugged terrain was more than sufficient to
develop the pains of labour. It was reported that more than one mother
had delivered by the way with improvised midwifery and one mother had
delivered close to an army check point where medical aid was close at
Closure of the A 15 was one of the many 'humanitarian' gestures
demonstrated by the LTTE. Midwifery by the wayside reminded me of the
book 'this good earth' by Pearl S. Buck who described pregnant mothers
developing labour pains while working in the paddy fields and seeking
the shelter of a shrub to deliver the baby and complete the procedure.
Whether the LTTE had this in mind could be sheer conjecture.
The LTTE paradoxes are hard to beat. They want the golden egg laying
gooze (the A9 high way) opened on humanitarian grounds on the one hand
and close the A15 highway to Tamil civilians wishing to reach cleared
areas preventing them from receiving aid.
I recall working in a remote part of Sri Lanka where roads were
rugged, irregular and pot-holed and pregnant mothers were transported to
hospital in bullock carts which took the ruggedness of the road in its
stride much to the discomfort of the patient increasing the intensity of
the labour pains causing mothers to deliver before they reached the
The LTTE probably has taken a leaf from this book.
It is worth mentioning the appearance of T. Sampanthan on a private
TV channel giving an interview in India.
He was flanked by two TNA Parliamentarians and made it a point to
describe the sufferings of the Tamil civilians and blaming it all on the
He probably had a LTTE unseen with a gun pointed to make sure he did
not stray from the LTTE stance and what they wanted him to say.
I wholeheartedly welcome, the enforcing of this act from December 1,
2006, which I feel would have come into force many many moons ago. In
the meantime the Health and Nutrition Ministry and other law enforcement
officers must try to educate the public by holding seminars and
distributing handbills etc. that such and such places are banned from
smoking and consumption of alcohol.
As this menace is thoroughly absorbed in our society, I personally
feel it is unfair to give people who violate this law without giving
them an adequate time to educate and adjust themselves. We being a
leading democracy in the world, it is better to be little fair by our
ignorant public, till they are educated on this subject. Anyway, I thank
the JHU for introducing this Bill.
On my recent visit to India, I found in all star class hotels I
visited, a board is exhibited in the lobby saying 'No liquor is served
for persons below 25 years'.
I wonder whether such warnings are found in our star class hotels. If
such notices are in force, please pardon me for my ignorance.
I hope the Minister of Health and Nutrition who takes a great pain to
eradicate this menace from society to take further measures to educate
our poor public on this matter.
Apropos R.P's letter of September 25 there have been many letters in
the Daily News regarding Kawdana Road.
Although over 12 years have passed, the Kawdana - Attidiya Road in
Dehiwala has still not been widened from the old Sub-Post Office
Sometime back the Road Development Authority came along and measured
the road and placed yellow coloured cement structures (like tomb stones)
with the letters RDA on them. Everyone was, therefore happy that at last
the neglected road was to be widened. We are still waiting in hope.
The Kawdana Attidiya area is now very densely populated unlike 12
years ago and also boasts of a bus service where a single bus plies up
and down from the Dehiwala Station to Attidiya (Route 981) at the whims
and fancies of the driver and conductor at different times with no set
time table, thus inconveniencing commuters.
In addition, there is very heavy flow of traffic on the Kawdana -
Attidiya Road, and as a result of the heavy traffic, the roads are in a
deplorable state with large pot-holes, leaking pipelines, piling up of
broken bricks and concrete from houses, overflowing of drains etc.
There have been many changes in the Municipal Council but no action
whatsoever has been taken by the authorities concerned to start widening
the road. Would the Minister of Highways Jeyaraj Fernandopulle kindly
look into this matter.
The river at Godapitiya, a village in Akuressa is infested with
man-eating crocodiles. These marauding reptiles have snuffed the lives
of many poor and helpless victims in the past. Recently a woman was
attacked and she narrowly escaped but she had to be rushed to the
hospital for treatment.
The authorities should take serious note of the fact that it is the
poor people who make use of the river for bathing, washing etc. as they
do not have proper bathrooms in their houses. Further, it is a daily
need that they cannot avoid. Therefore, it is time that the Provincial
Council of the area or some other State institution took immediate steps
to provide protective bathing places.
The much publicized, Presidential intervention and subsequent Cabinet
approval for the formulation of regulations, entitling pension benefits
for the Volunteer Women's Corp personnel in the Armed Forces retiring
after 15 years of service, equivalent to those retiring from the Regular
Forces after 22 years of service has been widely appreciated.
This is an open letter to bring to the notice of President Mahinda
Rajapaksa that in the same Armed Forces the Regular Commissioned Medical
and Dental officers retiring not after 15 years of service but after 35
years of service, are made to retire as civilians on a civilian pension
minute and are deprived of all the pensionable allowances particular to
the service personnel they received during their entire service tenure,
in the Armed Forces, based on a regulation promulgated in 45 years ago,
in 1961 at a time when there were no pensionable allowances in the Army
Ceylon Government Gazette Extraordinary published in September 1961
states that every Medical and Dental officer, shall be entitled to
receive all other allowances as are payable to officers, in terms of
conditions laid down in the Army Pay Code and the rates of pay and
allowances of the Medical and Dental officers of the Army shall be
revised to equate them to those recommended and accepted at any future
date for Medical and Dental officers in the Department of Health
All allowances received by service personnel were non-pensionable
allowances, until January 1985. The Ration Allowance authorized by MOD
letter D/39/H(VI) of January 25, 1978 implemented with effect from
January 1, 1978, the Qualification Pay and the Good Conduct Pay were
made Pensionable allowances by a Cabinet memorandum in 1988 to be
effective with effect from January 1, 1985.
The only difference between the minutes of pensions as applicable to
the Government Departments, and the Army Pensions and Gratuity Code is
the calculation of pension using the percentages of the consolidated pay
depending on the years of service as the service personnel could retire
at the end of twenty-two years of service, in contrast to the optimum
retirement age of fifty-five years of Health Department personnel.
Pensions are calculated on a percentage basis to ensure that within
reasonable limits a person can live comfortably in his retirement. The
current unfortunate situation is that the pensions received by a
retiring Service Medical or Dental officer as a civilian is about Rs.
7500 less than the pension received by anyone else in the entire Armed
Forces because of the exclusion of the Pensionable allowances particular
to the service personnel for the calculation of the pensions which they
did receive, during their entire service tenure.
As the Commander in Chief, we sincerely expect, your kind
intervention and grant us redress on the same guidelines, principles and
policies that were used for the formulation of regulations, entitling
Volunteer Women's Corp's personnel retiring after 15 years, benefit
equivalent to those retiring from the Regular Forces after 22 years of
It is also pertinent to place on record that the total number of
Medical and Dental officers who had retired after serving over 35 years
in the Armed Forces in the last twenty years could probably be even less
than twenty people which is in fact the wasting rate.
The formulation of regulations to calculate pensions of service
medical and dental officers using the percentages of the Army Pay Code
after taking into account 'All Penisonable Allowances' received by them
whilst in service and entitle them to retire as Service Personnel,
remains the only just and fair proposition.
The only consolation a Regular Medical or Dental officer, after
giving his entire professional life to the Armed Forces enjoys now, as a
terminal benefit on retirement is his last rites to be buried or
cremated as a serviceman whilst, from the Date of Retirement till his
Death he is treated, as just another civilian on a Civilian Pensions
BRIG (Dr) TILAK N. SENANAYAKE (Rtd.),