Lost Opportunities: Youths Take Wing | Daily News

Lost Opportunities: Youths Take Wing

Today Sri Lankans are fed up and disgusted with the way things are being run in this country. Some are angry with the Government and some are angry with all 225 + 1. They are disillusioned with the leadership. They have lost all hope. Some see no future for themselves in this country. They want to leave this country and head for greener pastures. In other words, they want to leave Sri Lanka. They cannot wait for one or two years till things get better. And that is a big ‘IF’. For them the clock is ticking. Everyday there are heated debates in Parliament. The people have no patience with these Parliamentarians. For some of them, it is high time to leave Sri Lanka. However, bureaucratic delays have frustrated their efforts. Apparently there is a huge delay in getting their passports. Daily News visited the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Passport Office, in Battaramulla, last Friday, and spoke to some of those present, who were trying to get their passports.

Most of these people have no guarantee that things are going to get better. They need to think about a new life in a new country. But before doing so, they need to get their passports in order. The delay is what is causing them problems.

Babu, said that he has come to the passport office on a previous occasion on the 7th of June. However, things got botched up. Everything was carried out badly and carelessly.

“We arrived around 1.00 am in the morning from Hatton. So we were registered, in other words they took down our names. This was done by a couple of individuals. Then the police arrived and organised a queue, but not according to the names taken down. We were all sent to the very back of the queue. Then they told us to come today on the 10th. So we arrived here from Hatton by bus yesterday. It was 11.00 pm in the night. Since then we have been in this queue. So this has become a huge problem. We were actually forced to sleep on the ground. We have had no food or respite. So right now two in our group have managed to go inside. But they have not come out. We want to go to Kuwait. It is very difficult to endure this. It is really unbearable because we are starving here.”

Rathnayake was another lady who spoke to us. She felt that this whole situation has rendered everyone helpless.

“The washrooms are so unclean and in a deplorable state. I feel so sad about the state of affairs in my country. This country is a place that we call our home. But now we have to leave this country and go elsewhere. I am off to Kuwait with a heavy heart. I have been coming here for the last three days. People are trying so hard to get their passports. We are given numbers, but there is no one to regulate things. There is very little order. It is hard to procure food and water. The food prices in the canteen are very high. People like us who have come here for the last three days do not have much money. So these are the problems we face. I am going abroad so I can send money back to my loved ones. We are leaving this country because someone has to take care of our loved ones”.

Fathima, felt that the situation is certainly worrying. She too is here for the third time to try and get that valuable passport which will take her away from Sri Lanka.

“I am going to Kuwait, and I am sad to say that I am so disgusted with the state of affairs in this country. It really pains me to say that. But that is the truth. Not just for me but for so many people. I am a nurse by profession. If a person can eat well and live in peace, that is really all they will ask. But because of what is taking place in this country, people cannot live happily. You feel so sad for the people in this country. So many people are trying to go abroad, and you can’t blame them.”

Ruwan, felt that there needs to be a system change, because problems are inevitable. We need to have a system that can tackle problems that arise.

“We know that people line up in queues. Because of this they come under a lot of stress. This stress is what we need to address. We need to create a system where people do not come under stress. I actually want to go to Dubai. I am here for the last four days. Like many others, I am also forced to go abroad because it is very hard to live in this country. However, I believe in being positive and I do not rule out the possibility that things might get better. These problems are temporary. So let’s hope for the best!”

Singaraya, pointed out that people are pouring into Colombo from all parts of the island to get a passport. This can be very stressful.

“Travelling from other parts of the island can be difficult for people. So there has to be a mechanism in place to facilitate this. This can be planned out in a better way. A proper system put in place where getting a passport can be done in an orderly fashion. We know that today in this country, Sri Lankans are determined to go abroad. They need to go abroad. This must be done for them swiftly and efficiently. We know that most of the people here, have been without food for a long time and they have not been able to sleep properly. So decisions have to be taken.”

Amirthalingam, said that the delay in getting a passport is one of the many tribulations facing people who want to escape the country.

“I am going abroad seeking a better life. Life is so hard. Food prices are rising daily. 1kg of rice is around Rs. 250 – 300. 1kg of flour is Rs. 270. There is no telling what might happen in the future. Never before has the future been so uncertain for all of us. I plan on going to Saudi Arabia. I am a father of three children. What can you do in life when you are so demoralized? If your daily income is Rs. 1,000 – 1,500 how can you live with such meagre earnings? Who thought something like this would happen in Sri Lanka? So now I am going abroad. I am also uncertain when it comes to the future of my children in this country, which I have called my home for so long. So going abroad is my only other alternative.”

Chamila is the last one who spoke to us. She was of the opinion that this delay is a result of the weaknesses in the system. People are so frustrated and they are involved in a race against time.

“I am sitting here since this morning and now it is 2.30 pm. I feel that there is no future for me in this country, otherwise why would I leave? I am going to Kuwait. I am a mother of two. I have to think of my children and I am doing this for them by going abroad.”

A new life in a new country is their wish. Let us hope that one day they will be able to return to a country, to a homeland that has come out of this dark abyss. 


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