The Peradeniya University Agriculture Teachers’ Association (PUATA) hereby express our grave concern and displeasure on the baseless allegations made by Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya as a participant in the “Urumaya” programme televised live on 14th June 2021 by the Independent Television Network (ITN). Dr. Padeniya’s comments, as a member representing the medical profession in Sri Lanka and a trade union, was targeted at the academics of the Faculty of Agriculture (FOA), University of Peradeniya (UOP), and we, the members of PUATA, consider it as an effort to tarnish the good name of the Faculty, which has been the pioneer in University Education in Agriculture for over seven decades.
The PUATA also considers Dr. Padeniya’s statements made at the said TV programme, linking the higher degree obtained by the academia of the FOA at UoP and inferring the links to Monsanto®, as a deliberate attempt made to gain cheap popularity on a currently debated policy directive of the Government of Sri Lanka.
We are surprised to see and listen to the presenter of the said programme stimulating Dr. Padeniya further on to his whims and fancies. Moreover, Dr. Padeniya made false representation regarding the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka in the same programme misleading the viewers. We are puzzled and saddened to learn that people like Dr. Padeniya, with extremely poor or no knowledge at all of scientific agriculture, are at the decision making or advisory positions in the Government of Sri Lanka in the field of agriculture.
We, the membership of PUATA, representing the academia of the FOA at UOP, strongly object to the statements made by Dr. Padeniya at the above programme referring to the academia of the FOA at UOP. We will not tolerate such wilful efforts made by Dr. Padeniya or any other individual or institutions/organization to bring this premier higher educational institute to disrepute by making baseless allegations at any cost.
We, with this, also strongly urge the responsible media entities of the caliber of ITN not to televise such programmes highlighting individuals with a significant lack of intelligence and relevant scientific knowledge of the subject area under discussion and common sense, providing false information to the policymakers and the general public. Furthermore, we wish to reiterate that such undue publicity extended to boost individuals’ image and spread unscientific views may lead to policy actions resulting in irreversible negative impacts.