Exemplary service of District Secretary, Colombo | Daily FT

I would be failing in my duty if I do not convey my gratitude to the District Secretary, Colombo and his staff for the speedy manner at which he issued permit passes for the transport of essential food items to be distributed among the hapless people battered and cornered, as a result of COVID-19 epidemic followed by continued lockdowns. 

I had my own reservations of the lackadaisical attitude of the public service and I approached the District Secretariat, Colombo last week in order to obtain a permit for the transport of coconut from the Puttalam District with a sense of indecisiveness and ambiguous mind whether my request would be curtly rejected and I would be sent from pillar to post, thus well knowing the arrogance of the public servants. 

All visitors who thronged the Secretariat were entertained by the security personnel at the entrance who collected required documentary evidence such as business registration certificate and perfected applications, etc. We were asked them to call over at the Secretariat after a specified time in order to collect the permits. There was no necessity at all for the visitors to step into the Secretariat premises at all. The only hassle faced by the visitors was to furnish photocopies, as this facility was not available in and around Narahenpita, Borella, Kirulapona and Nugegoda due to the closure of communication centres.

Lo and behold, the permits were ready for collection at the specified time to our utter surprise. The enthusiasm of the permit-holders was such that it could not be expressed by words in the absence of the relevant officers who processed this tedious task at a relatively short time. 

The validity of the expiry date of the permits again expired on 7 June and a further extension was granted on the submission of the original permit sans documentary evidence in a huff, thus showing the same efficacy.

Coconut is an essential household food item consumed by every household for all the three meals in the Sri Lankan dietary and the coconut of the smallest size fetched more than Rs. 100 due to the scarcity of coconuts in the open market. In certain areas of the Colombo city, the price of a coconut went up as much as Rs. 140. It was the rapacious traders who earned a fast buck using the lockdown by selling coconuts at exorbitant rates to the hapless people. 

The intervention of the District Secretary deserves a special bouquet for his timely intervention that enabled him to bring down the prices of coconuts and eggs from Puttalam and Kurunegala Districts.

Well done service, over to you the Colombo District Secretary and staff.

Ranasinghe, 

Colombo 5.