OPA AT YOUR SERVICE
Questions and Answers
Internship for foreign qualified doctor
Question: My question is about internship done in teaching hospitals
where the Doctors graduated?
What is the Policy of the Sri Lankan Medical Council regarding
internship of foreign medical graduates?
My son graduated from university of LEED UKS did his internship there
and now working in England.
He wishes to sit for the Act 16 Examination. Will he have to do the
internship again? After passing the Act 16?
A R Abeysinghe
Answer: If your son has done his internship prior to April 2010,
there is a chance of his being exempted from internship again in Sri
Lanka. All those who do their internship in hospitals overseas after
April 2010 will have no option but to do it again in Sri Lanka.
Your son has to apply to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMA) for
approval of his overseas medical degree and to register for the Act 16
examination on the application form available for this purpose at the
SLMA. He could also apply for recognition of his internship overseas (If
prior to April 2010). The Committee of the SLMA has to accept his
internship in order for him to obtain exemption from local internship
consequent to his qualifying at the Act 16 examination.
Interest payment at finance
Question: I am a regular reader of your column "OPA at Your Service
appearing in Daily News on Thursdays. I admire and appreciate the
excellent service rendered by you to the public.
However, I was indeed surprised to read your reply to Ranjith de
Silva of Colombo 8, on the above subject appearing on October 14. Simply
because some errant Finance Companies have avoided paying the capital
and interest to their Clients, is it proper to suggest that RdeS is
fortunate that he got at least a part of the interest due? You must not
forget the fact that, unlike the "Sakvithi" type rogue Finance Companies
who collapsed in the recent past, The Finance Co. PLC. Is a long
established Finance Company, properly registered with and regulated by
the Central Bank. They are at present managed by the prestigious
Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka. They also continue their operations and
accept deposits from the public.
As such, they should operate their business activities strictly
complying with proper legal norms. In the past, when interest rates were
escalating almost on a monthly basis, they paid interest at the rates
agreed at the beginning of the FD and not at the escalating - rates to
the nearest end of month. Why now a different basis?
It appears, that your reply gives all Finance Companies an open
licence to carry out their activities in any ad hoc manner which they
deem fit, disregarding what their legal liability is, as agreed and
confirmed in he Deposit Certificates issued by them.
I opine that you should provide a specific reply giving relevant
aspects as to non payment of interest at the agreed terms, disregarding
what other errant companies did in the past. Should TFC PLC pay interest
at 17 per annum as agreed by them? Is it correct for them to pay an
"Interest to the nearest end of month" at fluctuating rates? Should the
revised rates of interest be applied during the currency of the deposit
period or at the beginning of the next renewal? If an aggrieved customer
wishes to report the matter to either the Central Bank or the Ombudsman,
what is the procedure?
Answer: What you have stated is correct that a registered Finance
company should operate their business activities strictly complying with
proper legal norms. Interest should be paid at the agreed rates until
the next renewal period. This will be so under normal circumstances but
when a financial institution is unfortunately in trouble even if caused
by mis-management what alternative do they have. They can declare
bankruptcy and go into liquidation. In which case what will the
depositors' get? Instead they can take corrective measures and try to
In this case the Central Bank has intervened and handed over the
Management to the Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka.
As survival measures they are reluctant to release the capital and
also they have lowered the rate of interest. It is in the interest of
the depositors also that these measures have to be supported for
survival and thereafter full recovery to the original status. A grieved
depositor can complain to the non-banking supervision Department of the
Central Bank of Sri Lanka or to the Financial Ombudsman at No. 143A,
Vajira Road, Colombo 5 in the cases if registered Finance Companies. You
may forward a written complaint providing all relevant details.
Redress for aggrieved person
Question: I annex herewith an appeal sent to the Elders' Maintenance
Board. No 150A Nawala Road, Nugegoda dated 13-10-2010, I shall be most
grateful, if you can kindly give me a solution to the incidents
highlighted therein as they are, criminal intimidations, emotional abuse
and humiliatary conduct according to section 483 of penal code. And the
action by the doctor in the story given below:- Since I use to say that
the party concerned has symptoms of a psychiatric patient (as
highlighted in the annexure).
They in turn tell me the same thing of me and got my younger
brother-in-law who wanted all to go to a psychiatrist, which I promptly
agreed thinking that the relevant person would also be treated.
We were taken to a friend of his (psychiatrist to whom he takes his
son who is a psychiatrist-pt.) I was asked to stay out and he who (My
bill) gave a long harang which others have narrated to him-all
hallucinations. Doctor without asking me a single question issued a
prescription with psychiatric drugs but the other party concerned never
consulted. I wonder whether this action is in keeping with norms and
ethics of a doctor.
I keep to myself no one talks to me. At the moment I am an arthritis
patient. Hence I am not in a position to come personally.
Answer: Yes the Elders' Claim Board at Nawala Road, Nugegoda involves
itself mainly under the Elders' Law No. 9, of 2000 whereby it assist
elders to obtain maintenance from the children. They will not assist in
problems of your nature. If you are being ill-treated and as an
aggrieved person your case will be "under the Prevention of Domestic
Violence Act No. 34 of 2005.
You can complain to the Legal Aid Commission and seek relief. You can
call the Legal Aid Commission Disabled Unit at the Head Office on Tel.
011-2433618 or 011-5335281 for assistance or you can call the police on
118 or 119 and make a complaint. The disabled Act No. 28 of 1996 and the
disabled laws and regulations also have provisions to safeguard you.
If you strongly feel that you do not require psychiatric treatment
you may refrain from taking the medication. As for the doctor who is
supposed to have treated you on hear say, if you wish you can complain
to the Sri Lanka medical Association at No. 6, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo
7 but this will be complicated for you as you have to provide an
affidavit and so on.
Fate of Human Resources Development Co-operative Bank
Question: I have made a fixed deposit of Rs. 17,000 as per receipt
No. 14636 on June 23, 2004 at Human Resources Development Co-operative
Bank Society Ltd of Sri Lanka at Galaha Branch for a period of one year
at 16 percent interest per annum. My Account No. 3522-12.
I understand that the above mentioned Bank Society is not in
existence and I am unable to find out any information regarding the fate
of my deposit - either to withdraw or to deposit.
I have also opened up four individual children's Savings Pass book in
respect of my children with the same bank on 23-04-2003.
Since the Human Resources Development Co-operative Bank Society Ltd
is registered under the Co-operative Development Department, I sent a
letter dated January 20, 2010 under registered cover addressed to the
Director/Manager, Co-operative Development Department, 32/1, Makan
Markar Mawatha, Galle Face, Colombo 3.
As I have had no response from them please let me have your advice
through the Daily News OPA at your service page as to what I should do.
Your assistance and advice would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: Sorry to say that we are not able to bring you any good news.
This Bank and its branches have all been closed down due to a liquidity
problem caused by mis-management. They were unable to recover loans
granted using depositors money.
The Co-operative Development Department has taken over a process
amounting to liquidation. We understand that there were newspaper
advertisements to this effect in the Lankadeepa and Dinamina papers on
January 20, 2010, coincidently the same date on which you had written to
the Co-operative Development Department. When contacted, the
Co-operative Development Department made us understand that they are in
the process of part refund to depositors.
The order of refund is for depositors of higher amounts and even the
percentage of refund reduces with the level of deposit from around 25
percent downwards. Those whose deposit is below Rs. 100,000 will be
about 5 percent we understand. All those who have written in have been
registered though no individual acknowledgments have been sent. There
may be refunds after the first round of refunds depending on money
availability and recovery. You could contact on Tel. 011-5231117 for
further and specific details.
Charging fee to close bank account
Question: I opened a Savings Account (No. 006107001711) at the
DFCC-Vardhana Bank, Kandy, and deposited some money as and when I had
money. But as I faced some financial difficulties I had to withdraw all
the money leaving only Rs. 500 plus which they did not allow to
withdraw. As my financial position was very bad I thought of taking the
balance money even after the closing of the account. But when I informed
the Bank of my intention they refused to pay me anything saying that
they charge Rs. 500 to close an account.
This is very unreasonable and it was the first time that I heard
about such a fee in my lifetime. (I am 67 years old now) Therefore would
you kindly look into this matter and see whether it is possible for them
to do such recoveries from bank accounts.
R J H Ekanayake
Answer: You are correct in saying that Bank should not charge a fee
for closing an account especially a Savings Account as in your case. We
contacted the Manager of DFCC Vardhana Bank, Kandy Branch and she
confirms that there is no charge for closing your account. If you have
an ATM you can withdraw the entire balance but the bank may debit your
account for not having a minimum balance as stipulated. Some one in the
Bank may have been trying to persuade you not to close your Savings
account but miscommunicated their intension to you.
You have every right to close you account and withdraw your entire
balance. If you have any problem you should meet the lady manager to
whom the OPA has already spoken. She undertook to help you to close this
Attention of Public Utilities Commissions
Question: The Public Utilities Commission should pay its immediate
attention to the cable Lines drawn by unauthorized persons over the
electricity supply poles throughout the city of Colombo and other
These illegal cable lines are drawn over the electric posts, SLT
telephone posts and over the roofs of residences by local agents of the
Cable TV Channel providers with licence from the government.
These unauthorized Local Agents carry their Aluminium ladders on
motor cycles, which is also a danger to other road users including
pedestrians. They go at night too. These men climb on to electric posts
not only during the day time, but also in the nights when their
customers complaints of unclear pictures or some difects, they draw
their TV cable lines, which are danger to the people, as if any such
Cable Lines get intact with the live electricity supply cable it would
be the most dangerous act.
It would be too late by the time the authorities concerned open their
eyes after loss of valuable human life. Therefore, the authorities
specially the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, which has wide
powers conferred under the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, No. 20 of 2009,
should act fast and put a stop to the drawing of the Cable TV Lines over
the electric posts and or across touching the LT lines, in the interest
of the innocent public and safeguard everyone.
The authorities with powers to stop acts of any type of activities
that would be danger, turn a blind eye even if they come across of such
activities are taken place. The Public although they know the effect and
the danger of such works are unable to do anything as men engaged in
these works appears to be tough type persons with connections with
people of different walks of life.
It would be appreciated, if the OPA could provide its services to
protect the innocent people from the dangers of these Cable TV lines
drawn as stated above and also to monitor and take action to put an
immediate stop to the climbing on to electric posts during the night.
Marikkar Via e-mail
Answer: The same matter was raised by you previously and you question
as well as our response was published on Thursday 30th September 2010
under the heading "Erecting of Cable TV Lines".
We appreciate your civil mindedness but are unable to take any
action. According to our information one of the cable TV providers in
Colombo appear to have used their own posts (metal) and drawn their
cable lines. Although there are cris-crossing of several cables we did
not observe any TV cable tied or fixed on the lamp posts or any SLT
We suggest you send a letter directly to the Public Utilities
Commission if you wish with a copy to OPA stating the name of the cable
TV provider and instances or places where you have observed such abuse.
As to carrying ladders on motorcycles it is a risk that the persons
concerned takes and it is only the Company or the police who can do
something about it.
Answer: These soup cubes we understand are packed on automatic
machines and this happens though rarely. Only two boxes out of the five
purchased by you were not full. According to you the Manufacturer had
offered you 12 boxes as replacement and compensation.
However, you seem to have rejected this offer by the manufacturer in
order to retain the packets to complain to the Consumer Affairs
Authority. If your intention was to complain to the Consumer Affairs
Authority we wonder why in the first instance you complained to the
manufacturer. The Consumer Affairs Authority office is at the 1st and
2nd floor, CWE Secretariat Building. No. 27, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2.
We doubt that the Consumer Affairs Authority will assist you to claim
compensation and damage except to caution the manufacturer and to offer
you replacement. You must establish as to what the damage you have
undergone. Compensation of course was offered to you by the manufacturer
which you have declined to accept.
Question: I refer to my letter dated June 12, 2010 to you. I raised a
few questions regarding my service as an English Teacher and the failure
on the part of the Akuressa Zonal Education Office to place me in the
right Teachers Grade.
In the first place, I would not know whether my queries were answered
as I was not away from home and missed reading the Daily News. If my
queries had been answered, please keep me informed of the date on which
the answers appeared in the DN.
I understand that you are not in a position to answer Queries
individually: But, I am placed in a position where I am desperate to get
to know the outcome. If my Queries had not been answered would you
please take steps to enlighten me on the issues raised so that I would
be placed in a position to know what I ought to do to follow it up
I am extremely sorry if I have caused your esteemed association any
M I Mohamed Ansar
Answer: Your question of June 12 was answered in the Daily News-OPA
at Your Service Page on Thursday, September 2, 2010. We quote our answer
below. Quote "we are sorry for the long delay in replying your question
as it is a complicated case and we had to try several sources to help
you. Unfortunately we were not successful in solving your problem as the
authorities are blaming your regarding this. One high officer in the
Ministry of Education pointed out that as responsible teacher you should
have obtained your leave extension. It is your responsibility to get
your leave extended rather than relying on the Sri Lankan Embassy to
obtain your extension of leave. You have to now get the assistance of
the Foreign Affairs Ministry to get your leave ratified by the Southern
Province Zonal Education Department.
Also you have no alternative but to approach the Southern Province
Zonal Education office to recognize your Education Diploma, your period
of service and your entitlement of allowance. Suggest you forward a
letter with all the detail and copies of proof to the Southern
Provincial Education Director office and follow it up. If you forward a
copy of such a letter to us, we also may be able to follow up. First you
must get the facts, corrected with references to the warning letter for
the unauthorized leave.