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Mudslinging at tea celebrations

The 150-years of tea in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was celebrated on a grand scale and to commemorate the introduction of tea by Sir James Taylor, on Loolecondora Estate, Hewaheta amid many handicaps, trails and efforts when coffee was hit by a blight.

Now, look at a comment by a bureaucrat, that Mr. Taylor arrived in Sri Lanka as a refugee from Scotland, when he was starving there, which is not true. Nobody was starving as Scotland was a rich country then, and many Scots invested heavily on tea plantations here, and another Scot was, Sir Thomas Villiers of Adisham Estate, Haputale, who built a mansion (9 yrs in building) which stands as a landmark, and was gifted to the Catholic Seminary. When celebrations are held to honour persons, it is not appropriate to run them down as a refugee. If not for the efforts and sacrifices of these people “Ceylon Tea would not have been in the world map”. They came, they saw, they cleared forests, lived under harsh conditions, some died of Malaria and today, Ceylon Tea is the best in the world.

The martyrs of this industry are to be venerated, and not slung mud at. Mr. Taylor never went back to Scotland during his tenure on the Estate and died there and is buried in Kandy. Sir Thomas Villiers went back when he was 91 years and died the following year. They dedicated themselves to the tea Industry in Sri Lanka.

If not for people like Sir James Taylor and Sir Thomas Villiers, the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) wouldn’t exist today, and its many employees. Also, the TRI at Talawakele which is rendering yeomen service to the Tea Industry with professionals, wouldn’t be there.

Even the leading biscuit manufacturer, Maliban, introduced Tea biscuits to mark this occasion. The efforts and sacrifices by tea planters of a bygone era culminated in the brew TEA that you and I enjoy. Let us salute them and not dishonour them!

Kingsley Durairaj,

Import of second hand spectacles

Organizations and individuals get down second hand pairs of spectacles in bulk from certain western countries and distribute them free of charge to patients with sight defects, at health camps and temples, indiscriminately.

It is understood that though such spectacles may suit the over 65s, to be used for reading purposes for one or two years, such spectacles are issued to under 65s and even children, not by eye specialists, but by unqualified persons and others, calling themselves “Ophthalmic Opticians.” Unannounced visits to health camps and temples etc. where they are issued will reveal the seriousness of the problem. In fact, it was reported in the press that such issues were stopped by Health Authorities, who stormed the premises while they were in progress at Angunukolapelessa, to patients with eye-sight defects, sometime back.

The handling of such millions of spectacles appears to be good business too with no records of receipts and disposal, being maintained. They are hoarded in private places, as well. It is time that Health Authorities stepped in, to administer and regulate the import of such second hand spectacles and issuing them to patients. It should be so with second hand hearing aides, as well.

Handling and issue of second hand spectacles and hearing aides should not be left in the hands of non-medical organizations and persons. I appeal to the GMOA also, to look into the racket.

- S.R. Perera


Can a state authority defy court summons?

I write this letter, seeking advice and guidance from concerned persons re my problem in a court of law.

I had filed a case in the District Court, Colombo over five years ago, against a property developer for failing to honour the promise to complete my house after obtaining Rs 600,000 in four instalments. I refrained from paying the balance Rs 300,000 because they had abandoned construction up to roof level, demarcating rooms, etc. after receiving my last instalment of Rs 150,000. On my complaint to the Colombo Fraud Bureau, they took action to arrest the proprietor of the company and brought him before the Magistrate’s Court where he undertook to return the said sum of money, but failed to do so. He came out with the story that he did not receive the said amount from me personally, whereas I held four receipts issued by the property company, located in Borella.

On my complaint to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) in 2005, the CAA called for inquiries, but as usual, he defaulted in attendance. I hold copies of these letters sent to the property company as first, second and final reminders. My lawyer made use of the letters in the course of examining me. But, the defence argued that the letters are not genuine.

To prove the authenticity of the said documents, my lawyer, through the fiscal sent summons to the chairman, CAA to give evidence on the vexed issue. On his advice, I personally met the director, legal division and another administrative official of the CAA. They said, since the matter is over 10 years, files have been disposed of. However, they assured me to send an official on the trial date, which was last October.

To my utter disappointment, no official was present, even with the presiding judge taking my case last. Had an officer come and affirmed that the said documents are authentic, it would have helped my case and relieved me of my predicament.

I humbly appeal for advice as to what steps I should take and also answer the above titled question. Further, what are the penalties for defying court summons.

- Moreen Azmiya Dahlan