Rohana Aluthgedara, Chief Manager – Branch Banking, Sampath Bank PLC speaking at the inauguration ceremony
As a bank that takes pride in its Sri Lankan roots, Sampath Bank has always appreciated the immense value generated by the tank (Wewa) systems in and around the country and its ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme is a committed endeavour to restore the traditional irrigation networks that were constructed by the ancient kings of Sri Lanka.
The ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme is a part of Sampath Bank PLC’s community capacity building initiatives that aims to provide sustainable solutions to ensure a dependable supply of water for dry zone farmers to cultivate their paddy land and harvest both the Yala and Maha paddy seasons, annually. Through the project, the Bank aims to promote organic farming as a viable means of maintaining a sustainable livelihood through agriculture. Furthermore, this project contributes to the Bank’s triple bottom line as it enriches the lives of the community in the area, improves the water capacity of the tank and develops the surrounding eco-system and empowers agri-entrepreneurs by making them financially inclusive.
A structured undertaking to rebuild the tanks that have suffered neglect and ruin due to the passage of time, the ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme has seen the restoration of seven tanks to date namely; Udamaththala Wewa in Lunugamwehera (2001), Ilukpelassa Wewa in Thanamalwila (2002), Konketiara Wewa in Hambantota (2002), Dematawa Wewa in Panduwasnuwara (2014), Halmillakulama Wewa in Nochchiyagama (2017), Ambagahawewa in Kahatagasdigiliya (2018), Dhanyawa Wewa in Divulankadawala (2018) and has just broken ground on its latest project, the Kindagalla Wewa in Bibile.
Representatives of Sampath Bank and other invitees inaugurating the tank restoration project by ceremoniously breaking ground
Located in the Kokunnewa area in the Monaragala district, the Kindagalla tank has a surface area of 15 acres and currently provides water to 62 acres of paddy land, benefitting 60 farmer families. Post restoration the tank will supply 262 acres of farming land with water, thereby directly benefiting 260 families. The restoration work will be executed under the supervision and technical expertise of the Agrarian Development Department in Monaragala with the villagers forming most of the labour force.
The ground-breaking ceremony was preceded by several cultural and religious observances in order to invoke blessings upon the project. The ground breaking was conducted to the chanting of Pirith by religious leaders from the village temple and saw the participation of representatives of Sampath Bank, several government officials from the area, customers, members of farmers associations, village leaders as well as members of the community.
Speaking about the Bank’s ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme, Thusitha Nakandala, Group Chief Human Resource Officer of Sampath Bank PLC said, “It is challenging for the villagers to shoulder the entire burden of renovating and reconstructing these tanks. This task requires a lot of responsibility and such a meticulous process may affect the lives and livelihoods of the people residing in the area. Right from the inception, we have been working with government authorities and local communities to restore tanks around the island. Together with technical support from the Department of Agrarian Development and Department of Irrigation, we are very proud to be able to restore these tanks, thereby uplifting the lives of the people in the area and enabling a return to a historic and effective irrigation system.”
Currently, the tank’s bund has been damaged and its height is not enough to maintain the required water capacity for both seasons. Furthermore, the tank’s spill has been damaged, thereby greatly reducing its water retention capability. The restoration work which includes excavation of the tank and rebuilding of the tank bund and spill, is estimated to take approximately three months.
Sampath Bank’s CSR activities display a strong commitment to serve the community and generate sustainable benefits for the country and its citizens while supporting the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. The Bank considers CSR to be an ingrained aspect of its operations and has constantly gone above and beyond the natural obligations which govern its activities in the ordinary course of business. With proven expertise and professionalism in banking and finance, Sampath Bank’s CSR efforts will be central towards economic development and the growth of individuals and society at large.