Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday broadsheet newspaper on 18 August 2013
“If this flight is a waste of my time, you’re going to pay for it,” Julian Manning, managing director of Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) told Ray Wijewardene as they took a helicopter ride over the Mahaweli river valley in Sri Lanka’s hill country one day in the late 1980s.
“It’s not, and I’m right – and you’ll pay for it,” said a confident Ray, who wanted to show how haphazard farming on steep slopes was causing large scale soil erosion and environmental damage.
An engineer turned farmer, Ray knew how to take the ‘toad’s eye view’ of ground realities. As an avid aviator, he also had the ‘bird’s eye view’ – which is what he wanted to show the tobacco chief.
It worked. Pointing to the denuded hillsides, Ray emphasised the…
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