The National Immunisation Program has been the most excellent service
extended to Sri Lankans in the far outposts of our island.
I have been associated with the Epidemiological Unit in my capacity
of Chairperson of the National Committee for the Control and
Certification of Polio Eradication (The NCCPE), for many years. I have
often publicly applauded the diligent and effective surveillance of
infections that these officers command and execute through regional
Recently there have been some tragedies in the implementation of the
immunisation program. Following this, our Committee too has expressed
and minuted our concerns on the fact that this preventive effort has
resulted in deaths of a few children.
Even one death is not acceptable to any of us who are deeply involved
in the survival and quality of life of children, here and everywhere.
Sri Lanka’s immunisation success has been the envy of many developed
countries and that despite of the conflict in the North and East. It has
so for contributed to reduction in all childhood mortality and mobility
including malnutrition and also congenital heart disease.
In this brief appeal to all concerned in the public and private
sectors of our country, I request that every precautionary step be
exercised forthwith to prevent one more death.
Residents and users of Pothuarawa Road which runs from Athurugiriya
Road, Malabe to Pelawatte Junction were promised a world of goods at a
meeting in December 2007 where the Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman
and a gang of his supporters came out with big talk about developing the
road (4 km) to be used as a by-pass to avoid the traffic congestion at
specially Malabe Junction. There were promises of installing road lights
right along and recommencing the long awaited bus service to either
Borella or Pettah. ‘We have plenty of money in the kitty, thanks to the
Mahinda Chinthanaya ‘Gama Neguma’. So there’s no problem of finding
funds for the projects unlike what other Pradeshiya Sabhas are going
through,’ was the utterance.
Well, the election to appoint a new set of members to the Kaduwela
Pradeshiya Sabha is round the corner. Everyone is welcome to visit the
Pothuarawa Road to see what situation it is in now.
Vehicle owners please beware if your vehicle is not insured or if you
don’t have a back-up vehicle. And please don’t forget your torch if you
happen to go at night!
As for the bus service, it remains a dream!
The foundation stone for construction of a Flyover Bridge at Panadura
on the Colombo - Galle Road was laid by late Highways and Road
Development Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle on March 31, 2008, just a few
days before his tragic death.
The work commenced but abandoned after some time, the reasons for
which are unknown. As a mark of respect to the late Minister and in
order to ease the traffic congestion on the particular stretch of the
main road, I wish to request the Ministry concerned and other relevant
authorities that the work re-commence early without confining it to a
Cigarettes kills, kills and kills exactly the way the manufacturer
intended; Gro Harlen Brundland, the former Director General of WHO
asserted. They cause cancer; and heart attacks; realities
unconditionally admitted by the manufacturers themselves.
The deadly impact of tobacco consumption is universally accepted.
Today Sri Lankan Courts also have gone to the extent of entertaining
lawsuits against manufacturers of cigarettes that brought physical harm
or death to their consumers.
In view of this background can cigarettes and other related tobacco
products continue to be legal; or are they to be declared as illegal for
their lethal impacts? In a recent civil litigation in Sri Lanka, it was
argued that cigarettes were defective and harmful products as they
contain an addictive substance called nicotine. Nicotine influences the
reinforcing behaviour of the consumer (addition).
It also produces hundreds of other harmful substances at the time of
consumption. This nature of the product gives direct right for the
consumer to claim damages from the manufacturer for injuries caused by
The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act No. 27 of 2006
prohibits sale or promoting the sale of any tobacco product to any
person under 21 years of age. Tobacco product means any product
manufactured wholly or partly from tobacco and which is intended to be
smoked, sniffed, sucked or chewed. This law does not have any control
over sale or promotion of these products among those above 21.
However, it is still a mystery why tobacco cannot be penalised under
the Poisons, Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance No. 17 of 1929. This
law prohibits not only the sale but also the possession of ganja or
extracts from hemp tree. At the very outset the general patterns of
behaviour of the chemical ingredients in ganja and tobacco are similar.
Therefore, technically tobacco could also be classified as a product
falling under Section 5 (1) of that Act which restricts the sale and
dispense of poisons - Tobacco is also qualified to come within that
Poison means any article specified in Parts I, II and III of the
First Schedule to the Act Part I gives a list of poisons. “Alkaloids and
glucosides; all poisonous vegetable alkaloids and glucosides not
specifically named in that schedule and their salts and all poisonous
derivatives of vegetable alkaloids and glucosides,” are some of the
substances that are listed as poisons in Part I of the First Schedule.
Alkaloids are nitrogen containing organic compounds that are generally
recognised as habit forming and narcotic.
According to the Surgeon General Report titled ‘Nicotine addiction’
(1988) published by the US Department of Health and Human Services,
Nicotine itself is an alkaloid. It is the major tobacco alkaloid that
directly affects the central nervous system. There are other alkaloids
of pharmacologic importance containing in tobacco, including nornicotine,
anabasine, mysomine, nicotyrine and anatabine. Other than this, there
are other minor alkaloids too that enters the body of the tobacco
consumer. Puffing characteristics, especially puff frequency, influence
the delivery of the component alkaloids. Surprisingly it is
scientifically proved that in some varieties of tobacco, nornicotine
concentration exceeds those of nicotine.
All those substances are alkaloids that come within the definition of
poisonous, alkaloids and glucosides. No further analysis is needed to
decide whether ‘tobacco’ falls within the definition, ‘vegetable’ as
botanically it belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae - the same
family tomato and potato belong to. Belladonna (a strongly addictive
drug) is also a product of a deadly nightshade. Therefore cigarettes
(products containing tobacco) are liable to be governed by Sections 5
(1) of the Poisons Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance No. 17 of 1929.
These products fall within the scope of ‘poisons’ in terms of that law.
Therefore, is the sale and consumption of cigarettes in violation of the
provisions of that law, illegal? This is a matter that should
immediately attract serious concern of the law enforcing authorities in
I was passing this site at Ratmalana and observed only a couple of
cars parked and the place is deserted. I was wondering why?
I think the car is a status symbol here and most people do not
consider it as a means of conveyance.
They do not like to travel in buses, especially the females. May be
they have their own reasons as well. So until and unless people do
consider the car as a mode of transport just like any other transport,
this park and ride idea may not work.
Only alternative is to charge the vehicle as it enters the city zone
as done in Western cities. But the operational costs for this could be
massive for a proper effective system.
I would like to share a very nice experience with your readers. While
travelling abroad I went to the departure section of the BIA and entered
showing my airline ticket.
There the security officers asked me to put my two bags in the
scanner belt and also my digital camera which is worth Rs. 35,000.
I myself entered through the body scanner and collected my two bags
and left to the airline counter quickly as I was already late for the
check in, completely forgetting by digital camera.
I finished my immigration formalities and boarded the flight, once
the flight was airborne only I realised that I have lost my digital
camera. I came back to Colombo after 3 days. Once I came out of the
arrival area I went to the Day Pass Security Office next to the
I met an officer there and inquired regarding my digital camera. To
my complete surprise the officer told me that the camera is there and
took it from his drawer. He gave me the digital camera after the
I thank and praise the honesty of these security officers at the
departure section of the Bandaranaike International Airport who are
working under heavy stress due to the terrorist problems.
Such honesty is essential for a peaceful, beautiful and friendly Sri