Some work!

Reference to the article in the Island of the 15th instant in the Opinion Column under the caption "None work, who cares?" by "Disgusted Citizen".

For several years I have been highly critical in regard to the dismal performance, apathy and inertia prevalent in Divisional Secretariats. My latest letter appeared in The Island of May 15, 2002 in the Opinion Column under the caption "Reinvigorate the public service". I have reiterated the fact that public servants who have enjoyed completely free primary, secondary and tertiary education as citizens must realize that they are first and foremost employees of the State paid out of Public Funds mandated to carry out public service.

Those vituperations were due to the failure of certain officials in attending to legitimate requests in time and were borne out of empirical experience and were intermittently highlighted through the print media. I have also corresponded with Government Institutions from time to time for nearly five decades as the situations demanded. When I hark back in marked contrast I am marvelled and delighted at the instant attention and most courteous treatment that I received at the Matara Divisional Secretariat in the immediate past.

Due to circumstances beyond my control on reaching senile debility I was reluctantly compelled to shift my residence from Kiribathgoda to Matara. So, at my request pension files of both myself and my spouse were transmitted to the Matara Divisional Secretariat under intimation to me. The very transmission of the pension files were delayed by two months by the respective Divisional Secretariats and I bore the inconvenience with equanimity and engaged myself in the battle of making ends meet mainly due to the expensive drugs on which we exist.

For the very first time in the whole span of my life, I received a reply to a letter from a Government Institution within four days and that is from the Matara Divisional Secretariat. I was requested to present myself with my spouse with which I promptly complied. Again, within three days my pension and my wife’s pension were paid. This may be unbelievable, but it is the truth and nothing but the truth and I am in possession of documentary evidence to prove my statement.

In the vapid routine of our lives we should not only criticise and blame but also shower a praise when it is due. So, I promptly conveyed my deep debt of gratitude in writing to the Divisional Secretary, Matara with a humble request to commend the Clerical Officer concerned (whom I do not know personally) who was mainly responsible in the benevolent exercise. This public tribute and encomium is on second thoughts having read the Editorial and the letter referred to in the first paragraph herein.

My overall impression and perception is that this particular institution is devoid of venal elements and that they are collectively bent on serving the public the elders in particular as most pensioners are stooped and gaunt with old age. To put it succinctly there was an overwhelming abundance of humanity and caring pervading through all employees of this unit - the Pensions Branch.

This country would be a pleasant place to live if other public servants follow this role model of a Government Institution par excellence.

Matara Divisional Secretariat is an exception to the rule. Other Divisional Secretariats please follow suit, or shrink in shame in the Ostrich Style. Either deliver or depart!

Nanda Nanayakkara