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Opinion

Problems in Geneva: Facts that brought us here

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Dr. SARATH GAMINI De SILVA

The annual patriotic taunts and the laments of the majority are heard as the day of reckoning approaches in Geneva. We are shouting ourselves hoarse, complaining that the whole world is ganging up against the brave Sri Lankans, to punish them for eliminating the most brutal terrorist outfit the world has ever seen. It is true that what was achieved in 2009 is something that no other country could do in eliminating terrorism. But does that guarantee peace when the basic grievances that led to civil unrest over the years have not been addressed?

This article is not an attempt to justify violence, untruth or deplorable and unprincipled activities of other countries. Nor is it to devalue the achievements up to 2009. The intention is to open the eyes of my own countrymen to the reality of the hopeless situation facing the nation.

As was mentioned in earlier articles, seeds for racial disharmony were laid during the British colonial period. With their divide-and-rule method, they pitted the majority community against the minorities. This was done by establishing proportionately more schools in the North to ensure a better education, and thereby giving them superior positions in government service. Thus, with the country gaining Independence in 1948, and the Sinhalese gaining the upper hand, the minorities, mainly Northern Tamils, felt disadvantaged. They tried negotiations with the Southern politicians. Naturally, their demands like Ponnambalam’s 50-50 were unjust, but we could have negotiated that. With the watershed political upheaval in 1956, the situation became very volatile. With the Sinhala chauvinists becoming very influential and vociferous, taking politicians virtual hostage to achieve their aims, the minorities were getting increasingly marginalised. The Bandaranaike- Chelvanayakam Pact and later the Dudley-Chelvanayakam Pact were not honoured, without working on them to solve the ongoing disputes. There were several episodes of violence against unarmed members of the minorities during that period.

With the overwhelming electoral victory of the UNP in 1977 (followed immediately by another bout of violence), the majority assumed that whatever grievances of the minorities could be stepped over. Eventually, the Tamils were expelled from Parliament blaming their non-allegiance to the Constitution, leaving them with no forum to air their grievances. The terrorist outfits were taking shape in the North, claiming to be the sole representatives of the oppressed. The Southern leaders ignored the political sensitivities of India, which strengthened the terrorists calling them “Freedom Fighters”.

The pogrom of 1983 is the darkest patch in the recent history of our paradise. The unarmed Tamils in Colombo were killed, even burnt alive and their property looted. With the government not making any efforts to curtail the violence for several days, there was a worrying suspicion of state patronage. Many Tamils, who worried about their lives, escaped to Western countries. Naturally, they were warmly welcomed as refugees in those countries as their embassies here were witnesses to what happened in Colombo and elsewhere. From then on, the Eelam war escalated, and it is not necessary to detail here the damage done in both human and material terms over thirty years. Many subsequent peace overtures of the government were rejected by the terrorists, who were determined to establish their own Elam.

After eliminating terrorism in 2009, what actions have we taken to restore lasting peace? Have we had at least belatedly, an ongoing dialogue sans political rhetoric with the Tamil leaders to see what their grievances are and taken steps to address them? Instead, our politicians kept on boasting of their “victory”, further arousing separatist tendencies with communal rhetoric, purely to ensure that their success in winning the battles will keep them in power for generations. They were fighting with each other claiming credit for what was achieved.

The Tamil refugees who settled down in Western countries were establishing themselves. Well educated and employed, they are working according to a plan. With their natural energy, determination and ambition, characteristics we used to admire in our Northern countrymen for ages, they are flourishing making the best use of the opportunities provided there. The diaspora is making use of their increasing numbers to influence the local politicians, who are interested in winning their votes, to speak up for them at influential fora. They themselves have taken to politics and entered legislatures.

One can imagine the grudge they must be harbouring against us. They will tell the generations to come about barbaric violence they suffered. That generation, about everyone under 40 years of age at present, will not be informed of terrorism, suicide bombers, child soldiers, killing of innocent villagers, massacre of Samanera monks or bombing of Buddhist holy sites. They will be taught only about the 1983 pogrom and unsubstantiated allegations of civilian killings and the elimination of their “freedom fighters” in 2009. In fact, there is a campaign in Toronto schools to have a week declared every year to commemorate the so called “Tamil Genocide”. This and subsequent generations in the diaspora will be increasingly hostile to us. Though the LTTE remains proscribed in many countries, they have managed to operate freely with political patronage.

There is no use in shouting ourselves hoarse about the unforgivable crimes committed by the rebels during the war years if future security and peace is the concern of Sri Lankans. We will be facing this formidable force of the diaspora at every international forum in the future. Our diplomats, who are mostly the kinsmen or other acolytes of those in power and grossly unqualified to represent the country, have failed miserably to give the correct picture to those that matter. The whole world is well aware of the atrocities committed by the Tigers. Yet, successive governments have failed to exploit that knowledge to turn the world opinion favourable to us.

Despite all this, many educated members of the diaspora still love this country. Many of my colleagues there are still dreaming of the day they might be able to return after retirement. They keep visiting us regularly, having bought property here. Some have put up hospitals, churches and indulge in other public service ventures to help especially those in the North. So many doctors having achieved high positions in the health services overseas, help the country train our postgraduate doctors.

Sri Lankan politicians are still fighting among themselves without any concrete plans to counteract the allegations being made. Enough ammunition is being provided to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, UNHCR, to work against the country. After agreeing to various conditions imposed over the years, but dishonouring them immediately afterwards, the country has become one of the most untrustworthy to deal with. Those in power keep blaming the previous governments for the international agreements reached, without working for a common stance to face the imminent threat. Guarantees are being given repeatedly to the international community about an impartial judiciary to deal with various allegations emanating from the ethnic war. At the same time, new legislation is enacted to ensure that the opponents of the government are punished by a judiciary handpicked by the rulers. While saying that minority rights are being respected, the Muslims are denied their fundamental right to bury their dead.

It is meaningless to claim that other countries should not interfere with the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, which is a sovereign state. Having signed many international conventions and agreements, we cannot seek self-isolation when the situation suits us. We have allowed our internal matters to be discussed at international fora by failing miserably to solve them ourselves, often due to political expediency. This has forced our own citizens to seek relief from international organisations. If not for the influence and intervention of external sources, by now many countries in the world would have become ruthless dictatorships torturing their own citizens.

If the gravity of the issue was realised, a permanent secretariat should have been established in the foreign ministry long ago, with experienced diplomats purely to conduct an international campaign against the misinformation, and give the correct picture to foreign countries and various organisations that matter.

Our politicians know that they can fool most Sri Lankan voters all the time. But if they believe they can continue to fool the international community in the same way, they are sadly mistaken. Unfortunately, the whole nation will suffer paying for their folly.



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Opinion

Menace of university violence

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By Dr Anula Wijesundere 

Consultant Physician

I wish to draw your attention to a subject that is very close to my heart and a subject that causes much concern to most civic minded people. This problem has also caused untold misery to all families affected . The title of my presentation today is “Violence in the universities of Sri Lanka”.

I will begin with the saga of Pasindu, an undergraduate of the Faculty of Management of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura. The young boy, at the threshold of a bright future, was wilfully hit by a massive tractor tyre which was rolled down the staircase when he was climbing down, as part of the sadistic joy of ragging associated violence. We are all aware of the terrible consequences.

Pasindu lay unconscious in the Intensive Care unit of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka for many months, during which time he had several brain surgeries to correct the massive brain damage he sustained following intense brain haemorrhage. He survived largely due to the competence of the neuro surgeons and the excellent nursing care he received. However, he was left with residual weakness of limbs and an unsteady gait. We all fervently hope that Pasindu will be able to complete his education and will improve further from the residual neurological deficits he has at present.

Pasindu was certainly not the first and obviously will not be the last to be subjected to ragging as long as this culture of violence is allowed in our universities. The drastic consequences that this terrible malady has had on the university system must be emphasised to realise the stark consequences.

Pasindu was indeed unlucky to be ragged in such a ghastly manner by his immediate seniors. Possibly they were envious of Pasindu as he came from an upper middleclass family, had good knowledge of English and I T and was an excellent sportsman from St Peter’s College and a popular all-rounder. In fact, Pasindu was brimming with all the features that most ragging seniors detest in freshers.

Consequences of ragging in universities –

1. Over 2000 students selected for universities have abandoned their careers

2. At least 18 students have committed suicide.

3. Many students have become partly or totally paralysed, attempting to escape from aggressors.

4. Hundreds suffer from depression, anxiety and stress syndromes.

5. Current victims of violence invariably become the aggressors the following year.

The following list indicates the names of the unfortunate students who committed suicide as a consequence of ragging. This is the available list. The actual list may be much longer.

1. 1974 – Torture of mathematics teacher at Vidyalankara University.

2. 1975 – Rupa Ratnaseeli. She jumped from the top floor of a building in the University of Peradeniya to escape the raggers. She was permanently disabled, suffered for 27 years and finally committed suicide in 2002.

3. 1993 – Chaminda Punchihewa.

4. 1993 – Prasanna Niroshan

5. 1997. – Kelum Thushara

6. 1997. – Selvarajah Varapragash was a student of the University of Peradeniya. He was subjected to strenuous exercise and died of acute kidney failure.

7. 2002 – Samantha Vithanage of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura. He led a group of students against ragging and was killed by a pro-ragging mob.

8. 2010 – Shanthamali Dilhara Wijesinghe

9. 2014 -D. K Nishantha. He was sexually abused by senior undergraduates. The perpetrators had the audacity to collect Mahapola and other allowances from junior students to pay their legal fees.

10. 2015 – Amali Chathurika, an applied science student of the University of Sabaragamuwa

What is ragging?

Ragging is a criminal act, according to the law. Ragging is a deliberate act which causes physical, psychological or sexual stress or trauma. This invariably leads to humiliation, harassment and intimidation. Ragging also leads to psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety and stress situations,

From – Prohibition of Ragging and other forms of violence in Educational Institutes Act No 20 of 1998.

As ragging in universities continued unabated, Prof Mohan de Silva, during his tenure as Chairman, University Grants Commission, appointed Prof Uma Coomaraswamy as the Chairperson of the Centre for Gender Equity/Equality for Prevention of Sexual and Gender-based Violence and Ragging, of the University Grants Commission.

The findings of the committee are indicated below:

1. Sex and gender-based violence is mainly perpetrated against female students, especially against under privileged students from remote areas.

2. Includes physical, sexual, verbal and psychological harassment.

3. Results – physical violence 12 %, verbal violence 13% and sexual violence 13%.

 As a result of the establishment of this centre, the following help lines have been provided to students (who have been ragged or wish to prevent ragging,) to lodge complaints:

1. Director of UGC Centre for Gender Equality/Equity: on + 94 11 305 6885./

2 . Vice Chancellor/Registrar of University, in writing or in person.

3. UGC Call Centre on. +94 11 212 3700

4. UGC Ragging Complaints portal on www.ugc.ac.lk/rag

5. Use of “Emergency Safety app”, to make immediate call for help.

6. The Police

Consequences of ragging

It is well known that ragging causes hatred, crushes self-esteem, instigates negative attitude and leads to mental and physical trauma. Unfortunately, the victims of ragging, during the current year often become the aggressors the next year. Thus, ragging or violence in Sri Lankan universities is a vicious cycle, which needs to be stopped as early as possible. to promote healthy learning and prevent the drastic consequences.

In this context, one can wonder why ragging has not yet been eliminated from the Sri Lankan university system. This unfortunate state has happened due to the following reasons:

1. Lack of concern, or awareness, among the public

2. Apathy among the professionals, even university lecturers

3. Inactivity by Vice Chancellors, especially politically-appointed VCs, fearing strikes and closure of universities

4. Deans, lecturers and administrators of universities

– neglect or ignore ragging despite knowledge

– accept ragging as a normal occurrence

So far, the only silver lining, in the tragedy of ragging has been the action taken by the Vice Chancellor of the Ruhuna University, Professor Sujeewa Amarasena. Seventeen students, who engaged in ragging, were charged, remanded and subsequently expelled from the university. It was subsequently found that the Peratugami organisation, a breakaway extreme leftwing group of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, were mainly responsible for the strikes in the universities. However, it is gratifying to note that, despite the stern action taken against the aggressors, the University of Ruhuna functioned normally. This debunks the myth that action against raggers would lead to strikes by university students.

The Peratugami Organisation

This is a highly organised breakaway group of the Janatha Vimukthi Party, that controls students, often holding them to ransom. They select mostly students from financially deprived families, in remote areas. In certain instances, ragging starts even before the university academic year begins. The freshers are programmed to obey orders of seniors and prevented from attending classes in English and IT. This will certainly deprive them of good employment opportunities in later life.

Role of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) in prevention of ragging in universities –

 An expert committee, on prevention of ragging, in universities, was formed in 2019, with Dr Tara de Mel, former Secretary of Education as the Chairperson and 10 highly motivated members. The terms of reference for this committee were formulated by Dr. Tara De Mel.

1. Identify accurately the nature of violence in the universities.

2. Assess accurately the toll it has taken on the entire higher education system.

3. Identify the measures that the authorities have taken to stem the tide.

4. Identify the reasons why the universities have failed to eradicate this problem.

5. Identify impediments to implementing action against the perpetrators.

6. Identify measures to be taken to prevent violence the following year.

7. Need to delegate responsibility of eliminating violence to all university academics.

In the run up to the Presidential elections of 2019, the SLMA wrote to the three main presidential candidates to voice publicly their opposition to ragging and condemn all forms of violence in the universities. We released the letters to the press on the 22nd of October, 2019, hoping the candidates would express their opposition to ragging vociferously at the political rallies

This letter hit the headlines in the very next edition of The Sunday Island on the 27 October in very bold print. The entire editorial of the very next edition of The Sunday Island of 03 November 2019 was devoted to ragging, under the topic ‘Ending university ragging’. A senior academic of the university responded to these articles with a full-page reply, titled “Ragging in universities: An urgent National question”. This was published in The Island newspaper on the 04 November 2019.

Thereafter, a follow up letter was also sent to the presidential aspirants indicating the modus operandi of ending violence in universities. This letter, too, was released to the press. The contents of the second letter are given below:

1. Publicly condemn all forms of ragging and violence in universities.

2. Genuinely pledge to eliminate violence in universities.

3. Invite all Vice Chancellors and Deans to discuss atrocities in universities.

4. Develop a scheme of rewards for academics who actively denounce violence.

5. Ensure educational authorities are fully empowered to inquire, take action, and work with Police without interference.

6. Enable the development of a robust victim protection system and witness protection system.

This letter appeared in The Island of 17 November 2019 under the title…

“SLMA Expert Committee submits recommendations to end ragging”

 Unfortunately, none of these letters received any response. Subsequently, the letter of congratulations to President Rajapaksa on his appointment as the President and several requests to meet him to discuss controlling ragging, road deaths and drug dependence were of no avail. Subsequently, with the emergence of Covid-19, the country-wide lockdown, in March 2020, and the continued closure of universities, the momentum decreased and the activities of the expert committee ceased.

Recently, a new organisation, “Coalition against ragging”, was founded by Dr. Tara de Mel and Prof Harendra de Silva. Recently, we met the former Minister of Education, Prof G. L. Peiris, who had openly voiced his opposition to ragging. He agreed to our proposals, but the never-ending burden of Covid-19 has hampered all discussions with the relevant authorities to control ragging.

In conclusion, our contention is that all universities should be centers of learning, creativity, innovation and dissemination of knowledge. These hallowed institutions should certainly be free of violence, intimidation and harassment.

 However, being realistic, in the present context, unless the university authorities take the bull by the horns, it may take a generation or two to bridge the gap between the well-off and not so well-off, competency/incompetency in English, and the disparity between the urban and rural students.

 My parting words for the students are…

 1. Give a “Firm NO” to ragging.

 2. Agree that ragging should be eliminated completely.

 3. Do not be a silent victim of ragging.

4. Do not be a silent witness to ragging of others.

Remember that each one of us has the responsibility to ensure that universities are safe and comfortable for all those who work and study in them.

When I was invited to deliver the commencement lecture to the new medical entrants in the 150th year of the Colombo Medical School, and at the foundation sessions of the Sri Lanka Medical Association in 2020, I based my talk at both events on “Ending violence in Sri Lankan universities”.

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Opinion

Show some sympathy to non-citizen spouses

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(Some errors had crept into this letter, which was first published on 14 October under a different headline. This is the correct version. We regret the errors – The Island)

I have long wanted to lodge a protest against an injustice a dear friend of mine (P.) — and probably many others, too — has been labouring under for over 45 years now.

That is the requirement for non-citizen spouses to regularly — eternally — apply for residence visa renewal.

This must also make one wary of doing anything to endanger the citizenship one is left with and relies upon. When P, a British citizen, first came here, dual citizenship was still not an option, and sole citizenship of an unfamiliar place and people, scarcely tempting.

My English mother came here for the first time in 1955 (with three children). At the time, dual nationality was not allowed here. Naturally, she retained her British citizenship but had to regularly renew the right to residence. And my father’s assent was necessary every time. When, after 23 years of marriage, my parents divorced, my mother had to obtain special permission to remain — her youngest child was not even ten. And my father’s approval was still required. This became more and more difficult, and finally my mother decided to leave Sri Lanka. How life would have turned out for her had she not retained her British citizenship I do not know. Dual nationality was still not permitted. But in England, she had no problem finding a good job and a place to live.

When I returned here in 1975, I had been a British citizen from birth. I needed to work but the first job I was offered required me to be a Sri Lankan citizen. Still no dual nationality. It was a difficult decision to give up what had after all been a valuable asset in so many ways, and to lose certain privileges I took for granted for over 30 years. But this wasn’t a totally strange country for me, and I wanted to commit myself to it in every way. So, I took the risk and to this day I have only Sri Lankan citizenship. But, sadly, there have been many times in the years that followed when I wished I could have escaped the trouble and turmoil.

I don’t know if my friend P. ever contemplated taking SL citizenship only, or even dual citizenship when it became available. And until recently, dual citizenship closed various doors here to their owners — as I believe it should in high positions of politics and government.

P. has thrown herself into life here in every way. She is a much loved and valuable person. Unfortunately, she is not allowed to work, which is also a loss to the country. But naturally she misses her family and goes back regularly to be with them, often together with her solely SL husband.

Were she to take dual nationality now, she could not leave in a time of turmoil/crisis here or to her family in London.

And so, for over 45 years she has had to go through the wretched business of visa renewal — originally every year, but now every two years for people who have been here for a longer period. And this looms large again now, in a few days, amid all the current problems.

Not only that, but forever hangs over her the instant withdrawal of residence rights should her husband predecease her.

I think this last is most inhuman. Just when she most needs the support of people who are close to her here, she is expected to pack up and set up an entirely new home. Not even given time to confront the new situation and decide what to do.

I think that at least two things need to be changed in this matter. The two-yearly renewal should be reduced to at least five-yearly. And the despatch upon the SL spouse’s demise should be changed to a reasonable time, for the bereaved to attend to everything or even consider, at that point, applying for dual nationality. And this should be no less than a year.

I hope this comes to the notice of someone capable of addressing the problem, though it will be too late to make any difference to my now quite “senior” friend, as she stands in yet another queue at the end of this month.

MANEL FONSEKA

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Opinion

The Fertiliser Fiasco: Discretion is the Better Part of Valour

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By Dr Parakrama Waidyanatha

In his novel published in 1891, tiled “The Light that Failed”, Rudyard Kipling wrote the phrase, ‘biting the bullet’ to express the thought that fortitude can be gained by ‘biting a bullet’! As things are, should the President and government continue ‘biting the bullet’ or compromise in sincerity as discretion is the better part of valour.

The farmers have a genuine grievance in that there is no fertiliser, organic or inorganic! And organic fertiliser is not something that can be produced overnight. They are adamantly up in arms, and it would appear most likely that paddy and other arable crop cultivations will incur huge production losses. Farmers in the Mahaweli and other irrigated lands have taken up the unyielding stand that unless fertilisers are available, they will not cultivate this Maha season. Crop losses without fertiliser and other inputs can be as high as 40-50%, if not more, leading to a highly calamitous national situation. The same applies to plantation and other crops. Expert calculations reveal that tea yields too could decline by 50%!

More importantly, there are no readily available organic materials, vegetable, animal or other to meet the nutrient demand of the three million hectares of crops! Most plant–based organic matter has only about 1% nitrogen, if not less. Assuming, however, that together with animal dung and other organic matter sources the figure is increased to 1.5% and on average a hectare of cropland requires 100kg N per year, the total annual organic fertiliser demand should be at least 200 million tons if not more to provide the nitrogen requirement.

The average N demand for tea is at least 200kg/ha/yr, and some vegetables and other crops too, require more N than 100kg/ha/yr. The issue then is, how such a huge demand of organic fertiliser is to be met locally.

The recent fiasco with the attempt to import a seaweed- based organic fertiliser from a Chinese enterprise, Seawin Biotechnologies, is well known. Samples tested locally were reported to be contaminated with a harmful bacterium, Erwinia and the importation was stopped. Incidentally, the local Chinese Embassy had the audacity to contest the report of our quarantine authority, that the culture of the microbe could not have been done in the three-or four-day period as reported, but a senior professor of microbiology of the Peradeniya University and other specialists in the field have debunked the Embassy claim!

The supplier claims that fertiliser is heated to a temperature of 600 degrees centigrade to kill microbes. If so, how was the live pathogen detected. At this temperature not only microbes but also nitrogenous compounds should break down! Then how is the nitrogen replenished?

According to the company’s brochure on ‘seaweed granular compound fertiliser’ there are seven fertiliser formulations available for sale comprising nitrogen (N ) phosphorus (P2O5) and potassium (K2O), and nitrogen is replenished as ammonia, urea or nitrate! (Please see Table)

So, evidently, it is a granular fertiliser mixture of chemical and organic materials. The supplier does not claim that the product is organic, and it cannot as other than the ‘organic matter’ and the’ seaweed extract’ the rest are inorganic chemicals! So, clearly, having heated to the high temperature and losing the nitrogenous compounds, inorganic nitrogenous chemicals have to be added to achieve the required nutrient composition. So, the product is no longer fully ‘organic’. Then, who is deceiving whom?

Moreover, these seaweeds are believed to be essentially harvested from the Yellow Sea off the coast of Quindío City, an area highly polluted with metropolitan waste and excessively contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. The status of these heavy metals are, however, not cited in the fertiliser composition table in the brochure. Further, although the supplier has apparently promised a 10% nitrogen content in the formulation, it is impossible to get such a high value from seaweeds! On the whole, then there are grey areas in the fertilizer deal.

The President and the government are apparently now gradually yielding to the countrywide fertiliser demand pressures of the farmers as evident from a recent news item that chemical fertiliser for corn will be imported. Then what about tea and other crops?

As per the ‘grapevine’ there is evidence that some nano (chemical) fertilisers are also to be imported and the Tea Research Institute has been asked to work out how much ammonium sulphate as the nitrogen fertiliser source is needed for the country’s tea apparently because some stocks of the latter being available. Ammonium sulphate has only 21% nitrogen whereas that of urea is 48%. Because of production interferences due to COVID the urea prices have shot up by 35 -43%, from April to September 2021, and the same should be true for other straight fertilisers.

Ammonium sulphate price globally is now reported to be about USD200/ metric ton whereas that of urea is about 450 USD. So, in terms of N contents in the fertilisers, the cost should be comparable except for the haulage. However, over application of ammonium sulphate can be detrimental in that the added sulphur in the soil is reported to inhibit phosphorus uptake by crops affecting growth and yield! Urea is the better option as the nitrogenous fertiliser when large quantities of it are needed.

In conclusion, it is the ignorance and obstinacy of the authorities that has pushed the country into this calamity. Minister after minister are obsessed with the “wasa visa” myth as evident from their utterances both in Parliament and outside! It is the general belief, without evidence that, agrochemicals are the cause of many non-communicable diseases.

No politician speaks about ambient air pollution, the leading environmental health risk factor locally and globally. Records reveal that nearly 3.5 million premature, non-communicable deaths, for example, in 2017, were from stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, lower respiratory infections, and diabetes.

The President should, as a matter of priority, obtain a report from the health authorities on this matter of agrochemicals and health. This false belief was aggravated as a result of the initial suspicion that the chronic kidney disease (CKD) of the Rajarata was caused by agrochemicals but none of the research supported this contention. Research evidence gathered over several years, especially during the period 2010 and 2018 by no less than five groups of researchers established that the most likely aetiolating agent is hard water and fluoride in the some dug wells especially on high ground, as those who drank such water were essentially the ones that contaminated the disease.

Those who consumed water from the streams, reservoirs or dug wells in the plains did not contact the disease! Some of the research conducted by the current coordinator of CKD activities in the Health Ministry too supported this contention!

However, it is sad that the health authorities have failed to brief the President, the Health Minister and the government in general on this vital matter! Had this happened the President would, not have rushed into this decision of ‘going organic’ virtually overnight!

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