For want of a leave form

[TamilNet, Friday, 27 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A shortage of goods, except perhaps military hardware, is not unnatural at times of war. However, one item which is much sought after in Jaffna today, is not usually among items which are scarce at times of strife. A simple piece of paper, the leave form, has a become a rare commodity in Sri Lankan government offices, eagerly sought after by aspiring leave-takers.

The hapless government servants, however, are not responsible for this unusual state of affairs - after all, the Jaffna civil servant's propensity for burning the midnight oil was almost proverbial in the island.

The Sri Lankan security forces, including the police, having used up their supply of leave forms, started preying upon the stocks of leave forms in other government offices in the peninsula.

They have now succeeded in exhausting these supplies as well. Government servants in Jaffna have been compelled to resort to using poor photocopies of leave forms when applying for leave, said sources.

"Why doesn't the army ask us for forms to apply for permanent leave? We will supply it only too willingly!" said an exasperated official at the Jaffna Kachcheri, who, of course, expressly forbade the TamilNet correspondent to use his name.

 

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