ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11 , 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41

RIP the laws of our land

By B. Joseph, Wattala

The Government should be congratulated for banning the use of thin polythene. I think there is a decline in the use of polythene bags. In most small shops the consumer has to pay for the bag. This is good, because gradually people will get used to reusing the bags.

The polythene menace could be further reduced if by law the consumer is to bring his own bags when purchasing goods. Then again we were happy when the private bus conductors were compelled to issue tickets.

Before venturing to comment on other issues, let me comment on the above two issues. First the government took steps to ban the thin polythene on a priority basis as it was found that thin polythene bags etc. were the biggest problem when it came to waterways, man-holes etc. getting blocked. Now when the public is asked to restrict the use of polythene and not throw the bags around we see the whole exercise become a mockery when we see what the local authorities are doing.

In all towns and cities, garbage is not disposed of or collected in a systematic manner. Because the garbage is not collected on time, we see polythene bags strewn all over, which finally end up blocking waterways, gullies, and manholes.

In the beginning when posters were placed in buses warning that passengers would be prosecuted and fined Rs. 100 for travelling without a valid ticket, everything went off very smoothly.

Sad to say we are going back to the old system again.

Like the above two situations, one will agree with me that in Sri Lanka we cannot bring in a new law and maintain it for long. There is a saying that “the law implemented in the morning is no more in the evening”. Does this only prevail in Sri Lanka?

It is unfortunate that we cannot bring in laws for the benefit of the country and maintain them and improve on them. One has to only go around and see how laws are blatantly dishonoured. There is a section of Sri Lankans, maybe due to their laziness, or ignorance or due to backing from politicians, who tend to do things the way they want to. They will break all the road rules, encroach on others' lands, pollute waterways, dump garbage whenever they want, divert their polluted water onto roads, paste notices and deface private and public buildings and walls, extend or bring forward their shops into RDA lands. This will be an unending list if all is to be mentioned.

Just three examples: Can we get meters fixed on three wheelers? Can we get our pavements cleared for the pedestrians? Can we get the people evicted from railway property? We cannot. The reason, the vote for the politician is more important than the welfare of the masses.

So in this unfortunate land of ours the law is an ass. A lot of people want to do things, as they want. They do not care a hoot about others or the laws of the land. As mentioned earlier, the polythene and the ticket issuing laws will soon die and be buried. RIP laws of Sri Lanka!

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.