CKDU in the Wellawaya – Moneragala area.
Posted on October 29th, 2022

Chandre Dharmawardana

A 2015 U-tube  from 2015 has been resurrected because the Booker name is in the news  when the Booker prize awarded to Karunatilleke. 

But the Booker Prize has hardly anything to do with the Booker and Tate industrial giant. The Booker price is funded by the fortunes of people like Ian Fleming (James Bond author) and Agatha Christie ( Detective novels).

Here is the new U-tube which is old wine packaged in a new bottle.

Booker Prize for Sri Lankan Peasants !

Unfortunately, although already in 2015 most scientists knew that the problem of CKDu is linked to drinking water contaminated with fluoride found in the ground geologically, little or nothing has been done since then, except to exploit it to raise hate against, agrochemicals,  Foreign capital, etc., claiming that Sri lanka has to protect itself against foreign capital, colonialism and multi-nationals. The political agenda hopes to instead push forward the class struggle to over throw capitalism. 

While many elements of capitalism are bad and lead to gross abuses, laws can be enacted against them , and trade unions can control them. However, Sri lanka cannot develop without an influx of foreign capital and foreign technological know how. Such know-how is NOT “patta-pal boru” as claimed  by the Nalin de Silva-Jayasumana cabal and fellow-travelers like Venerable Ratana and their pseudo-scientific supporters.

Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea developed by inviting and exploiting  foreign capital (mainly Japanese and Western multinationals). 

This sort of claim against multi-nationals as well as modern technology was used to ban agrochemicals by the Sirisena Govt., and then Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, throwing the country into chaos, and that was exploited by some people to initiate and manipulate an  “Aragalaya”, and  attempt to trigger regime change.

While fluoride is good in small amounts (prevents dental carries), it is bad when ingested above a threshold. 

The causative effect of fluoride, its bad effects (skeletal fluorosis, CKDu) are enhanced if the water is hard (i.e., if it contains especially magnesium, and possibly other salts, see: Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology and the effect of multiple-ion interactions – PubMed). 

If you have a drinking-water well dug in the ground, but away from a tank or a river, such dug wells and tube wells get their water from the stagnant underground water table, and NOT  from the water table of a tank or a flowing river that gets replenished and refreshed all the time.

So CKDu hits people who drink their own well water, instead of water from a tank, river or irrigation canal

This has been confirmed by many many investigators. I think the importance of clean water is accepted even by those who continue to claim [e.g., Jayalal et al, Kulathunga et al, Vlahos et al NPJ-clean water (2021) 4:50] that small amounts of agrochemicals and metal toxins (Pb, Cd, As), pesticides are the primary cause the cause of CKDu. The answer to Vlahos et al also should counter the articles of Jayalal et al, and Kulathunga et al., as well as those who claim that CKDu is correlated with farming. It has zero correlation with framing, as seen from the two adjacent villages Saaravhoomi and Badulupura.

This answer to Vlahoos et al may be found in Comment on “Water sources and kidney function: investigating chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology in a prospective study”, by P. Vlahos et al

So, the solution for PREVENTING kidney disease is to provide clean water for these poor people. Give them plastic tanks to collect rain water, or provide them Reverse Osmosis water (more expensive solution). 

Professor. Rajapaksa of the Peradeniya University had investigated this area (Moneragala and environs) and its CKDu a few years ago. They published a research paper (attached here, with first author Liyanage) showing that the CKDu in the Moneragala Wellawaya area is also due to consumption of bad water containing fluoride and hardness.

Instead of presenting the salient facts, the U-tube video is trying to raise hate against Booker, the company that was invited by Sri lanka to build a sugar factory. It does not even ask the rural people about their source of water.

This was strongly opposed by the JVP, and then when Booker left, a Chinese company was called in, and the Chinese company failed to do the job. Subsequently, Booker was again invited in as they  have some of the best technology and experience in the field. 

Once again Booker built a factory that produced sugar efficiently and cheaply. But again politics moved in and crippled its efficiency, and finally Palawatta Sugar company took it over, while I think Booker is still a share holder as they brought in Foreign Capital and technology.

Chandre Dharmawardana


Post Script: 

Booker-Tate’s involvement in Pelawatte Sugar Factory as stated by Booker-Tate.


Pelwatte Sugar Industries Limited

In the beginning

Booker Tate first became involved with what was initially called the Pelwatte Sugar Project in 1980 when it was commissioned by the Sri Lankan government to investigate the feasibility for a sugar project in Monaragala District, an underdeveloped area in the south-east of the island.  A full range of services was provided for the feasibility study including soil survey and site selection, agricultural planning, factory studies and financial and economic evaluation.

Finance arranged

Following approval of the proposals in the study report, assistance was requested to raise the necessary finance to form a private sector company and to undertake its development.  The early years were not easy and a Tamil uprising in 1982 made it hard to interest international financiers.  However, with the government taking 49% of the equity and CDC and the Malaysian factory contractors, Kerry Engineering having just over 30% between them, the package was completed with large loans from off-shore lenders.

A project is born

With finance arranged, the signing of a ten-year management agreement with Booker Tate in 1984 signalled the beginning of project development. Agricultural development continued in parallel with the construction of offices, housing, training centre and a factory.

The 2 800 tonnes cane per day factory was commissioned ahead of schedule in 1986 with the capacity to produce 50 000 tonnes per annum of mill white sugar for local consumption.

Against all odds

As seem inevitable with a rainfed project, the worst drought on record occurred the year after the factory started and in 1989/90 the estate suffered from the attentions of the JVP, a group of Sinhalese extremists in the south, who caused much greater trouble than the larger Tamil rebellion in the north. Despite these problems the factory produced a near capacity 47 000 ts in 1991/92, only two years behind schedule, making a significant profit.

Local impact

The project has had a tremendous impact on the area in which it is situated with an estimated 20 000 families drawing part or all of their income from it as permanent or casual employees, cane farmers or contractors.  Roads, schools and medical services have also benefitted greatly.  On-going management included a programme of localisation achieved through training and development both overseas and at the company run training centre.

Management change

Due to a government policy decision the management agreement was not renewed at the end of 1993 and a management team supplied by the Chinese government took charge of the project.  This change of direction was not successful and the Chinese left the project towards the end of 1997.  In 1998, at the request of PSIL, Booker Tate once again become involved with the signing of a technical services agreement.  This agreement was concluded in 2000.


In Brief

  • 1980 Feasibility study for a new sugar project
  • 1982 Tamil uprising
  • 1982-84 Requested to assist with raising finance
  • 1984 Booker Tate awarded a ten-year operational management contract
  • 1986 Commissioning of 50 000 ts/y factory
  • 1989 JVP extremists create problems
  • 1991 Factory produces 47 000 ts/y
  • 1994 End of management contract – Chinese management take over
  • 1997 Chinese leave the project
  • 1998 Booker Tate signs a technical services agreement
  • 2000 Technical services agreement concluded

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