THANKS to the Daily News September 5, we now hear the long awaited
news of scientific garbage disposal projects initiated in the periphery,
despite continuous inaction at the centre.
We must congratulate the initiators of a ‘garbage recycling project’
under Bulathsinhala P.S. and an ‘organic fertilizer plant’ jointly
executed by Pujapitiya P.S. and Akurana P.S.
It is a matter for much regret that successive Governments, during
the past three decades, have ignored this grave issue despite its
urgency being highlighted day in day out.
The age old practice of depositing garbage on dumping sites all over
the country is still being continued, due to inaction on the part of
relevant authorities at the centre.
It is common knowledge that the prevailing anti-environmental
practice, causes pollution of drinking water sources, blockage of
surface drainage, nuisance and health hazards to residents and last but
not the least, destruction of precious wild life.
Also we need stress hardly that the prevailing practice constitutes a
serious impediment to the development of our lucrative leisure industry.
It must be emphasised that this is not a subject that could be
conveniently left in the hands of individual Local Authorities.
Developed countries in the world pay due attention to the subject of
disposal of solid waste, as much as to purification of drinking water
and treatment of sewage.
The ongoing anti-polythene drive will not be capable of making even a
dent in the overall huge problem of garbage disposal. It is not too late
for the authorities responsible, namely ‘Environmental’ and ‘Local
Government’ to obtain foreign expertise, if necessary, and lend the much
needed guidance to Local Authorities in effecting the scientific
disposal of garbage, as joint ventures, in view of the heavy demand for
raw material for such projects.
G. G. J. –
I DISAGREE with some of what Christine Taylor (DN Sept. 18) and Dr.
Mareena Thaha Raffai say in their letters about the show of flesh at
The off shoulder styles resting on the breasts were worn even during
the very rigid Victorian era in Europe.
While certain of the wedding dresses might be considered immodest,
and there could be an improvement in the design of the dresses to suit
the attitudes and culture of the nation, the bride totally covered up
even with a light sari or gown will feel miserably hot on her special
day, unless she has the privilege of having her wedding in
Sri Lanka, and especially the low country, has a climate which is hot
and humid. It is wrong dress code to follow the traditions of the Middle
East, where garments are worn for the hot and dry desert, or the
enclosing sari which belong to the cooler and drier conditions of North
India or to the elevated lands of the up-country.
These items of clothing are worn in arid conditions, where even if it
is hot, forms a natural air-conditioning barrier between the body and
the environment, thus protecting the body from the harshness of the heat
or coolness of these regions.
In tropical low-country Sri Lanka, such apparel boils the body, and
while one might admire the virtuous looking person who dons such
apparel, it is only suited to a person of sedentary occupation who works
in an air-conditioned office, or lives in a home with maids.
A very busy housewife, school teacher, nurse, doctor, daycare worker,
maid, police-woman or woman in the Armed Forces, for example, will not
be very efficient in her job, if she has to wear this uncultural garb.
In fact, most of these women wear a Western dress reminiscent of the
modest dress worn by the British women of the Colonial era - when they
felt hot dressed accordingly.
It must be remembered that the traditional dress for women in Sri
Lanka is the redda-hatta (cloth and jacket).
RAMONA T. FERNANDO –
APROPOS the article in the Daily News of August 2, regarding retired
Government servants, I wish to highlight the plight of the
unknown/unseen side of the public sector retirees.
The senior management have at all times been receiving substantial
increases, free transport, various additional allowances and benefits,
while the juniors have suffered much hardships without anybody taking-up
their grievances. Even the retired Government servants have enjoyed
salary revisions over the years.
Granting a pension to the public sector was considered by the late
President Ranasinghe Premadasa, but with his untimely demise, it was
forgotten and the public sector employees have been made to suffer,
except whose spouses are attached to banks, corporations, federation
firms of the mercantile sector with good salaries and fringe benefits.
Unlike government servants, the only benefit is tax exemption.
A few months ago and even later, it was announced during TV
programmes that the President has assured to grant a pension for
beauticians/hair dressers too, even though they have not served the
public sector at all.
Hence, it would be appreciated if all State sector employees receive
the same benefit, considering that this unfortunate lot of employees too
have served the State for many years which are governed by public
However, it is also noted that a part of the EPF/ETF contributions
earned by the poor public sector and mercantile employees are being used
for various Government development programmes, granting a mere nominal
rate of interest annually to the contributors, whereas if it is invested
in fixed deposits in the State banks, the non-pensionable lot of public
sector employees and Mercantile employees can expect a higher return to
be used during their retired life and not be a burden to the State nor
their children, which was the actual idea of the inauguration of the
above funds i.e. EPF/ETF.
Further, although the Labour Department does not issue uniforms etc,
to the clerical and allied staffs, the ETF funds earned by the public
sector and Mercantile service/Corporation employees are used for this
purpose and to grant a bonus too, which majority of the public sector
organisations do not enjoy, as this fund is managed by a Board.
Most public sector employees receive about Rs. 1-2 m or lesser for a
service of about 20 years while the hierarchy earns about Rs. 4-5 m.
Once an employee retires and invests the money so received (sometimes
after settling debts), only, they realise, that for the sum so invested
in a State bank for security sake, they do not enjoy even half their
last drawn salaries nor any essential commodities at controlled rates
nor a quota system. Further, if they or their spouses or any unmarried
children are sickly, they have to spend for medication.
If they are unfortunate and have to go through any major surgery such
as by-pass, kidney transplant, knee and spinal surgeries etc, they have
to spend a couple of lakhs out of this amount, as such surgeries are not
totally free even in the national hospitals, as costly items have to be
provided by the patient.
It is at such a time that a public sector employee will feel the
pinch, having served the State, the best years of their lives. The
channelled fee ranges between Rs. 500 - Rs. 1,000 or even more
immaterial of whether you are a Government pensioner/non pensioner etc.
and so are hospitalisation charges.
Most of the medical tests ordered and not available in the State
hospitals are costly and so are the medicines whether one is rich or
A simple lipids profile not available in the hospitals cost over Rs.
600. So, how can the health authorities expect the low income groups to
lead a healthy life and it is only once they reach a very serious state,
that they realise same. Similarly, there are many suffering from common
ailments such as diabetes, heart, kidney problems.
The inhalers prescribed for asthmatics are also very costly and
unaffordable by the majority. Transport charges even in a three-wheeler
is very costly and unaffordable.
Sometimes the children of these senior citizens may not be in a
position to provide lodging and medication to the parents, if they are
not doing well. Further, having earned a lifetime, even the retirees may
not wish to depend on their children.
All Government servants who retired in 2006 were fortunate to receive
their benefits calculated on the revised salary of January 2007,
considering that this was announced originally in 2005, where payment
was put off for two stages, as the General Treasury was not in a
position to effect the payment at once, but the public sector (non
pensionable) employees who retired in 2006 were not granted this benefit
and their terminal benefits being the last payment for a service, was
calculated, according to the month of cessation. This is totally unfair,
as this lot is not pensionable either and is considered a great
Hence, may I please draw the kind attention of the Secretary to the
General Treasury, the President, who I’m sure will look into this unfair
treatment to the public sector and grant redress to all such employees
referred in above para by paying their dues according to the year 2007
salary increase as this was promised in 2005.
R. P. E.
IT IS time that the politicians of this country impose severe
restrictions on our women from going for employment to Middle Eastern
countries. There is no security for them and the majority of them suffer
immense hardships during their period of employment.
People are indeed suffering, but let the males take that
responsibility. There are enough cases of male members sending their
female members to foreign countries for employment and having a very
relaxed time in Sri Lanka. It is time the politicians start doing some
good to the citizens, especially the female citizens of this country.