Business News from Sri Lanka: In response to the Government’s island-wide program-“Wana Ropa” to add 2889 hectares to national forest cover and also to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Bank, the Bank of Ceylon has itself committed to restoring a hundred hectares of degraded forest in Hurulu Conservation Forest as “BOC Haritha Arana”.
The ceremony marking the beginning of this massive project was held on Saturday 12th October 2019 at a land stretch close to Habarana Morakanda attached to the Hurulu Conservation with the distinguished patronage of His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and with the participation of State Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment Hon. Ajith Mannapperuma, the Chairman, Bank of Ceylon, President’s Counsel Mr. Ronald C. Perera and the Acting General Manager Mr. Russel Fonseka.
Many guests including members of Bank of Ceylon’s Corporate and Executive Management and Officials from the Mahaweli Development Authority, Forest Department and Civil Security Department also participated for this event.
“Nature is truly the only thing that sustains life on earth. With the current pressure on nature posed by climate change, degradation of the ecological system on earth, it is made to be a duty of every country to make a significant contribution to protect the nature by many international conventions and agreements. The Bank takes this as an opportunity to assist the country to increase its forest cover up to 32% and meet-up with internationally agreed standards. With this objective, earlier in September 2019, the Bank has signed an MoU with Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry and the Forest Department to work out this project in a comprehensive manner” stated the Bank’s Chairman, President’s Counsel Mr. Ronald C. Perera.
Commenting about the project the Bank’s CEO/General Manager Mr. Senarath Bandara said “As the No.1 Bank in the country, we’ve always considered it to be our duty to contribute to the economy and environment, and society. From a holistic view, the bank’s activities should be conducted in a sustainable manner, contributing to overall economic growth and stability, while minimising negative environmental impacts and uplifting the society. We believe we are setting an example for every individual, business and corporate to join this noble endeavour to assist the Government”.
This project was carefully orchestrated with a long term overview to maintain this area continuously for three years until it is has matured enough to be self-sustaining. The bank will ensure that proper maintenance will be conducted and records will be kept during this time period to ensure a quality outcome of this project. The project will be executed under the purview of the DGM Sales and Channel Management of the Bank Mr. C. Amarasinghe and his team. Being a genuinely concerned partner to protect nature, Bank of Ceylon took responsibility by actively engaging in causes that deliver good sustainable results for the society, its people and the environment as a whole with this Green Corporate Social Responsible initiative.
The Galoya Forest Reserve altogether owns a 14,000-hectare ground area of which almost 6000 hectares have been deforested due to various reasons. Bank of Ceylon will ensure that this project has comprehensively looked into improving this 100 hectares of land and contribute to improving the environmental quality of the country. It will eliminate the growth of invasive plants such as Shrub Verbena (Gandapana), Speer grass (iluk plant) and Ceylon citronella plant (Mana plant), reduce chances of wildfire and the spread of such, will limit feeding cattle inside the forest reserve and will regenerate natural growth of plants that form the forest.