Citizens' Mail | Daily News

Citizens' Mail

Coronavirus and students

Most of the students who have gone for higher studies are those who have failed to enter our universities due to cut off marks. A student who gets 210 marks in Colombo schools is shut out while a student from Ampara with 200 marks or less is successful to enter our universities. Would it not be best for our government to consider these children who have gone to China are entered to our universities to relieve parents of mental agony.

Let this request be only for this batch only, this year. Hope the Minister for Higher Education will give serious thought and grant relief.

G. A. D. Sirimal
Via e-mail


Vanished lungs of Colombo City

Many of us of the older generations, especially those who were sportsmen and sportswomen who had participated in outdoor team games, would recollect the large number of playgrounds that the city of Colombo had which have given way to buildings. The city of Colombo at that time had fewer buildings and no high rise buildings as we find now, with maybe the tallest building being not more than four stories high, if my memory serves me right. Added to the lesser number of buildings, there were a lot of tall trees along the roads and in the gardens of houses. And of course, there was the Victoria Park, later renamed as Vihara Mahadevi Park. There was also a park past the Senate building with the statue of Queen Victoria which the present citizens of Colombo would not be aware of.

The city had a large number of playgrounds located in many parts of the city. Of these playgrounds, the first one to vanish from the map of the city was the Ceylonese Ladies Hockey Club playground which was acquired to construct the building to house the Rupavahini Corporation. Thereafter one by one, a few others suffered the same fate. The land where the Sri Lanka Army football playground was located was utilized to construct the then Taj Samudra Hotel.

The Government Services Sports Club had its playground on Parsons Road (now Sir Chittampalam Gardiner Mawatha, a mouthful), close to the Rowing Club premises. This playground was used for cricket as well as football. Now the Cinnamon Lake Hotel stands on the land where this popular playground was.

The Sri Lanka Army also had a cricket ground a little distance away from the football grounds. This has been taken over to construct the Shangri-La Hotel. Thus, the Army lost two valuable playgrounds that they had in the city of Colombo and both locations were utilized to have two five star hotels.

On the opposite side of the road to the Cinnamon Lake Hotel and adjoining the Slave Island Police station, was the Saracens Sports Club cricket grounds which produced several outstanding cricketers such as ACM Lafir, etc. Though the playground remains, it now belongs to the Sri Lanka Air Force and maybe, not utilized for staging any games but used more as a helipad.

The last playground that suffered this same fate was the Nomads Cricket ground opposite St. Bridget’s Convent. Nomads was the club of the Colombo Municipal Council, which produced several cricketers who played for the national side, such as the De Silva brothers, DH, DP and DS, etc. The land space occupied by this club has been used to build the Nelum Pokuna Theatre.

The city of Colombo lost some invaluable playgrounds to put up buildings and thereby the lungs of the city vanished from the map of the city. The city still has a large extent of playgrounds in the Havelock Town area with the Burgher Recreation Club, the Colombo Colts Cricket Club, the Havelocks Sports Club and the Pedris Park playground intact.

Off Reid Avenue, former racecourse area has the astroturf pitch for hockey and the football grounds opposite the Grand Stand. In addition to these, Colombo has the University of Colombo playground, the Bloomfield cricket grounds and the Thurstan College grounds near each other. The other playgrounds still intact are the Moors Sports Club grounds at Braybrooke Place, the Malay Sports Club grounds on the opposite side from the Rio Cinema and of course the schools’ playgrounds of Royal, St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s Colleges.

We hope that at least these existing playgrounds will remain as they are, so that the citizens of Colombo will have some fresh air to breathe.

H.M. Nissanka


SAITM closed for two years

Former Chairman of SAITM, Dr. Neville Fernando, says that SAITM has been closed for two years and has no income. According to Dr. Neville Fernando, SAITM has not yet been acquired by the government.

Dr. Neville Fernando says that the former Yahapalanaya Government has harassed him.

Dr. Neville Fernando says that former President Maithripala Sirisena had been against him because he was a supporter of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

This is a very sad situation. Dr. Neville Fernando has invested a very large amount of money for this project. There are a hospital and facilities for university education.

We must make use of these assets. There is a shortage of buildings and other facilities for university education. Children are going abroad for university education.

We should not allow valuable assets to idle. It is a crime. This is due to political and trade union interference.

We very kindly request the authorities to manage this problem fairly and reasonably and use these facilities for higher education.

D. Weeratunga


CMC and ratepayers’ fate

There are many counters at the rate paying section in the Colombo Municipal Council. But there are no desks for ratepayers to attend to any official writings.

I was not allowed to take my bike, and of others too, despite a vast area available for parking, though it was permitted earlier. So I had to pay Rs.20. This amount goes to the CMC. Visitors are asked to park their bikes on the pavement which is adjacent to the gates. It seems the pavement is not to the pedestrians.

Visitors enter the Council not to waste their time parking their vehicles within the compound of the CMC. Why is parking not allowed and despite half a dozen security officers in each gate could security be a concern? This sudden parking charges shows the CMC is struggling financially?

Madam Mayor, allow the visitors to park their vehicles in that vast ground to get either their things done or pay their taxes.

Nazly Cassim
Colombo 13


Gold is bold

I refer to the news item where an employee of a duty free shop in Katunayake BIA has been arrested by the Customs for attempting to smuggle out gold. But gold is not produced in Sri Lanka. So why should we bother about gold which is smuggled into the country merely for re-export and not paid for from our foreign exchange resources under the present foreign exchange regulations. This is a type of business which would be permitted in a free trading country. We don’t stand to lose by the smuggling of gold which is smuggled in and smuggled out. In fact it can provide additional business and earnings for us.

Why not allow the free import and export of gold and benefit from the re-export trade in it instead of wasting our scarce resources trying to stop the smuggling of gold by policing it. Don’t we talk of promoting entrepot trading? We can concentrate our resources in the Customs Department to check the smuggling of narcotics which is in the general interests of humanity rather than gold. I would even recommend allowing the import and re-export of gold provided it is not paid for from our owned foreign exchange resources although even this may be considered at a later stage with due safeguards to prevent misuse of our foreign exchange. We have to develop our entrepot trade don’t we?

R.M.B. Senanayake


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