|Sunday, 16 February 2003|
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As a member of a human rights organisation I want to bring to the notice of the Minister of Interior Affairs, Prime Minister and all concerned to take a second look on the issue of deportees, with much regards to foreigners.
Sri Lanka, in the past few months has had her relevant Minister, travel globally, to release and deport all Sri Lankans held abroad.
This has yielded positive results, as countries like Australia, Italy, Egypt, England, and other Middle East countries have been sending back Sri Lankans home. This is a step in the right direction. Some foreigners are languishing in Sri Lanka's prisons, not even in deport camps. Foreigners from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, China, Japan, and other African countries are in prison. They have been ripped off huge sums of money. In the spirit of global reconciliation, and now that all is set for the Secretary General of the United Nations to visit Sri Lanka soon.
I wish to beg and request that all foreigners in Sri Lanka prisons, with passport problems be sent back (deported) to their countries of origin.
This is in response to the article in the Sunday Observer of January 26, titled 'Patients without patience'. According to the article patients crowd at doors blocking the movement of sick persons and medical staff. One reason for such a situation is that in most private clinics and nursing homes there isn't a sufficient number of unoccupied seats at any one time during peak hours for all patients to be seated.
The other reason is that patients become impatient when the doctor gets late to come. Some doctors walk in hurriedly at 6.00 or 6.30 p.m. when they should be in by 5.00 p.m. and so this deadly infection of impatience is passed on immediately to the doctor who becomes impatient from the time he/she enters the consultation room.
The doctor hurriedly or rather impatiently sees the patient and dismisses him/her so that the same can be done with the next patient and the process goes on at the average rate of 3 to 4 minutes per patient, and at the end of it even the handwriting on the prescription is illegible.
So we request the doctors not to tax the patient's patience.
Students for the academic year 2002/2003 in universities are being admitted now. Those who have been selected for admission have been so informed and admissions will take place on February 18 and 19 and sessions will commence with effect from March 5.
Two categories of students are to be admitted to the Kelaniya University as follows:-
(1) Those who have qualified in the GCE Advanced Level Examination of 2001. (Academic Year 2002/2003) and
(2) Those who have qualified in the GCE Advanced Level Examination of April 2002. (Academic Year 2002/2003) (A)
A large number of students who sat the April 2002 examination will re-sit the 2003 examination expecting better results.
Production of the School Leaving Certificate has been made compulsory for admission to the University. Principals have intimated that those who have obtained the School Leaving Certificate will not be allowed to sit the Advanced Level Examination as a school candidate. Therefore, those who have already applied to sit the Examination will be deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination if they obtain the School Leaving Certificate.
These children are studying for the ensuing examination which will be held just three months ahead. Effecting admissions prior to the holding of the examination is sure to cause heartburn and resultant depression and unrest among the student community. It is rather difficult to perceive why authorities have resorted to this unfair decision.
Admissions were hitherto done after two successive examinations thus affording the opportunity for the applicants to select the university course using the best result.
The authorities are kindly and eagerly requested to allow the procedure hitherto adopted to continue sans deviation and to hold up the admissions to universities until the results of the year 2003 examination are released.
Thus the university also would be in a position to admit well qualified students.
The Muslims in the Northern and Eastern Provinces who are domiciled as their homeland, are no doubt of the Moorish origin.
To establish the words "Ceylon Moor" in the birth certificates of the Moors by our late leader Sir Razik Fareed through our organisation, "All Ceylon Moors' Association", which was inaugurated 9 (nine) decades ago to attend to the matters concerning the muslims in the fields of education, commerce, politics, social and so hence and so forth. To achieve the rights and privileges of the Moors of Sri Lanka by the late Sir Razik Fareed was a Herculean task. However, he with his zeal and wit was able to obtain this without bloodshed.
We the All Ceylon Moors' Association, earnestly and sincerely request the Moors of these two provinces to join hands with us to secure an everlasting political solution by which to gain our political freedom in particular and deal with the other set backs in general.
Today the position in the Northern and Eastern provinces is not properly and suitably met to the benefit and advantage of the Moor residents in these two provinces.
Realising the gravity of these problems in advance our founders like the late Sir Razik Fareed and the late Mr. A. H. Macan Markar represented the eastern provinces in Parliament, 4 to 5 decades ago.
Since a party under the name of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress had emerged on it's own, today problems are perpetual.
To seek solace, we the "All Ceylon Moors' Association" welcome all those who are interested to join us to form Moor National Association.
All Ceylon Moors' Association
According to an article in the Daily News of January 27, railway management proposes to introduce a luxury train service to Bandarawela with hotel facilities which will boost the tourism industry. It was further mentioned that the concept of 'Hotel Trains' has proved to be successful in countries like India. It was also reported that once this proposal is implemented, it will improve the service and reduce dependence on Treasury funds. The news report also stated that there was no need to import new compartments for this project, as the department has decided to refurbish old compartments. It has also been proposed to have an "Observation Saloon" in this luxury train.
I don't know how this 8 hour journey from Colombo to Bandarawela (which covers about 257 km.) can be compared to the vast network of railways in India, where express trains run for 12 or more hours at a stretch from one main city to the other provincial towns of tourist interest, where the travellers have to have their meals enroute, due to the very long travelling time involved for these journeys.
My humble opinion is that the main duty of the Sri Lanka Railway is to cater to the local passengers who have to travel from one point to another point in this small country. At the same time, I wish to mention here that the Government has established a separate Ministry of Tourism to cater to the foreign tourists who visit this Island during the months of November to March each year, to avoid the severe winter in their countries, which happens to boost our tourism industry too.
Most of these tourist who come on 'Chaters' prefer to travel by road in special buses or coaches, so that they could alight at any point enroute to view a water fall, a tea centre or some other point of Tourist interest.
As a regular commuter who patronises the S.L.R., I wish to state here that almost all the long distance 'Express' trains operating on the coast line are now being operated with a lesser number of carriages due to the lack of coaches in good condition to be attached to these long distance trains.
The railway management has informed the travelling public on several occasions that the railway department is unable to provide sufficient accommodation in these long distance 'Train Sets', as the Treasury is not giving the department sufficient funds to import new carriages to strengthen the present service.
Therefore, in almost every train running between Colombo-Galle/Matara, the passengers who entrain these trains at Fort station or at stations, enroute keep on standing all the way up to Galle or vice versa, packed like sardines.
According to the article, there are old compartments which could be refurbished to form this train. If it is so, we the regular railway commuters wish to kindly request the railway management to repair these compartments and replenish the depleted train sets which are now being operated with a lesser number of compartments on their daily runs.
With the increase in fares for road transport sometime back, about 40% of road traffic has switched on to railway travel, to make matters worse. I hope this new proposal will not be another "white elephant" for the railway. What the department should do is to refurbish the existing two Coach A-C Hittachchi Train Set, and give over the catering to a reputed caterer such as 'Grosvenor Caters" or some star class hotel to do the catering in this train, which I presume is provided with the proposed facilities.
I think the railway management has got its priorities mixed up by going to take over the function of another department, without first putting their own house in order. Over to you, Minister of Transport for attention.
Produced by Lake House