Lies, damned lies and govt. claims
Posted on December 20th, 2016

Editorial The Island

The problem with lies is that they have a very short lifespan. It was only the other day that the Finance Ministry sought to justify its unconscionable traffic fine increases by claiming that the mere announcement thereof had led to a drastic drop in road accidents. It used police and hospital statistics in support of its argument. We pointed out in this space the absurdity of its claim.

The last couple of weeks have seen several tragic accidents in various places such as Jaffna, Mihintale, Polonnaruwa, Peliyagoda, Wadduwa, Malabe, Kataragama and Minneriya. These mishaps have snuffed out about 25 lives and left about 100 others injured. In Jaffna alone 11 persons were killed in a bus-van collision last Saturday.

The number of persons killed on roads continues to average six or seven per day. How would the Finance Ministry worthies and other government pundits explain the occurrence of these disasters within days of the announcement of massive increases in fines for traffic offences? They will have to concoct another absurd theory. Will they claim that the fines have to be further increased?

A minister’s son has also been arraigned on a charge of driving an SUV without a valid licence and knocking down a motorcyclist. This alone is proof that the fine hike hasn’t had any effect on even the progeny of government ministers who are flaunting it as a deterrent to errant drivers and riders.

The government should admit that it has jacked up fines not out of any love for the public; it has done so because it is desperate to raise its revenue substantially to qualify for the next tranche of the IMF loan. It had to review the unconscionable VAT increases under duress and, therefore, chose to make up for the losses by increasing traffic fines. Successive governments have pressured the police to boost their income by way of fines on motorists and the present administration has gone a few steps further.

If higher fines help bring down the number of road accidents then, as we have argued in this space previously, the government should be able to make roads totally safe for one and all by legislating for heftier fines to the tune of, say, Rs. 1,000,000 to be imposed on errant drivers. Fines must not be ridiculously low. They must not be unconscionably high either. For, punitive action alone does not help make roads safe. Besides recklessness and lapses on the part of drivers/riders and defects in their vehicles, the inefficiency of police and bad road conditions contribute to road accidents.

Vehicle imports increase at an alarming rate without roads being widened to accommodate them. Leaders of the present government specialise in only two things––talking hind legs off a donkey and finding scapegoats. They unveil many plaques with much fanfare but only a handful of projects get off the ground. It is hoped that they will not sell the existing expressways to foreigners instead of building new ones.

Police patiently wait behind wayside walls and trees till traffic offences are committed so as to fine offenders or have their palms greased instead of trying to prevent infractions fraught with the danger of causing accidents. It looks as if the police expected, if not allowed, motorists to violate the Highway Code. The presence of a single traffic policeman in an accident prone area will be a more effective deterrent to reckless drivers than a heavy fine. The need for roads to be better policed and developed cannot be overemphasised.

The government should stop bandying about statistics in support of its bogus claims as regards traffic fine increases and road accidents. It should properly assess the situation and adopt remedial measures without believing in its own lies.

8 Responses to “Lies, damned lies and govt. claims”

  1. aloy Says:

    “The last couple of weeks have seen several tragic accidents in various places such as Jaffna,…….”

    To my mind it is not an accident.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    No law in SL.

  3. aloy Says:

    Some strange things are happening. May be some kind of a sena from the south will make a offering tomorrow in India so that the things will happen according to plan.

  4. aloy Says:

    In order not to become sacrificial lambs, those going to Nagadipa should go in large buses perhaps with armour at frontage.

  5. S.Gonsal Says:

    I agree with Aloy.
    It appears to be a BIG PLOT to create IELAAM by killing Sinhalese, threatening Sinhalese.
    Is it done by the government ?At leaset one section of it , I beleive so.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    The dear old DEMAGOGUE MAXIMUS of Tamil Nadu, the inimitable Karunanidhi, has fallen grievously and is gasping his last lungsfull!

    Perhaps he is motivated by his late unlamented nemesis, Jeyaram Jayalalitha!

    Wow, what a sequence of clearing the decks of Sri Lanka’s enemies: Cameron, Billary Clinton, Jayalalitha and now …. Karunanidhi to soon become Karunabudhi perhaps!

    Who says the Hatarawaran Guardian Dieties of the Lanka thrice blessed by visits of the Lord Buddha himself and anointed to be the permanent bastion of his teachings, is SLEEPING ON THE JOB?

    Nah, we will overcome all enemies plotting to destroy our Motherland today, as our revered ancestors did through millenia, yesterday!

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    Ado Yakko Kalawedda (Andare-Gonsal):

    Thawama mehey thapinawada?

    Maximum Thalaivar Katussa (Lorenzo) thamuseyta kiwwa neda:

    Kalaweddo, Kalaweddo…….
    Umbath natapan
    Mamath natannang,
    Apey deshadrohi nadagama
    Umba thawa uda pannala natapan!
    Kalaweddo, Kalaweddo ……..

    Ekada aapahu web adaviyay thapinna awey??

  8. SA Kumar Says:

    the inimitable Karunanidhi, has fallen grievously
    You more consider TN politician than We Ilankai Thamilar .

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