Death on wheels
The tragedy at Wattala on Saturday
night where a young couple and their one-year-old infant was
killed on the spot in a motor accident no doubt would have
stirred even the hardest of hearts.
According to reports the couple was returning from a party
when the mishap occurred. A fourth occupant in the vehicle too
was killed while another was critically injured. Initial
investigations revealed that the person who was at the wheel was
under the influence of liquor and had been driving on the wrong
side at a terrifying speed.
If this is the case he had not only killed himself by his
irresponsible act but also brought death to his young family.
This incident again raises the whole question of drunken driving
which has resulted is several lives being lost most often
plucking away the breadwinners of a family.
We have been told that breathalyser tests are being conducted
to apprehend drunken drivers. But to what extent is this being
done ? Usually the driver concerned gets off with a warning or
at worst fined for his offence.
This is hardly the type of deterrent against drunk drivers as
can be seen from many such mishaps reported in recent times
where the offenders were invariably found to be under the
influence of liquor.
What is called for is more stringent punishment for offenders
such as the cancellation of driving licenses, confiscation of
their vehicles or even a stiff prison sentence.
Today our public highways have became veritable death traps
with roads turned into speeding tracks by motorists, especially
those brash rich youth who take delight in showing off their
latest models and also those at the wheel of private buses.
Today commuters and pedestrians are increasingly exposed to
peril by these speed fiends and it is no exaggeration to say
that one could consider oneself lucky to get home in one piece
given the danger stalking the highways.
This incident should awaken the authorities to take a more
serious view of fatal accidents on our roads caused by reckless
driving. The offenders should be severely punished and made an
example of if our roads are to be made safe for the public.
A compensation scheme too should be evolved making it
compulsory for an offender to provide for the families of
accident victims. Failure to comply should be met with a stiff
prison sentences. Nothing less would drive these killers on
wheels to see sense.
It will be the fervent wish of rate payers in the city of
Colombo that the Colombo Municipal Council which is applying
itself with diligence and zeal in carrying out the city
beautification measures in preparation for the SAARC would
continue in the same vein in attending to the woes of the city
Today CMC work gangs are spotted everywhere in the City
galvanised into action to keep the city in trim for the upcoming
event. If only the CMC had shown a fraction of this enthusiasm
and enterprise in its day to day functions it would not have
been the object of much public criticism.
One hopes this enthusiasm would last well after SAARC is over
and done with and the city dwellers provided with a satisfactory
service. It is hoped that this would prove a catalyst in the
revival and transformation of the City from its present squalid
state to something resembling the name it once enjoyed as the
Garden city of Asia.
There is much that needs be done for the Colombo city that
goes beyond giving it a mere facelift to coincide with an
There is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of the
centuries old drainage system and the ridding the city of
squatters and encroachers who mar this once beautiful landscape.
What is needed is a planned strategy to develop the city with
expert input to cater to the changing patterns and trends. It is
also hoped that the garbage disposal will be carried out with
the same zeal and enthusiasm as that being witnessed now and a
permanent solution found to flooding which is a perennial
problem affecting the city.
Let this event provide a shot in the arm to the CMC to awaken
from its slumber and deliver the goods to the City residents on
a permanent footing.