The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau have fully sponsored the planting of trees on both sides of the new road connecting the Ruwanweli Maha Dagaba and Thuparama Dagaba in Anuradhapura. This programme was held under the participation of the Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera recently (20 ) planted 180 plants on both sides of the road.
The GSMB has previously contributed to the planting of trees in the premises of a number of such shrines and regulates every tree planted using GPS technology. The trees are also well cared for up to three years.
These tree planting activities were carried out under the Husma Dena Thuru National Tree Planting Program taken by the Ministry of Environment to increase the tree population in our country.
The Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera who participated in this occasion stated as follows.
The government has decided to increase the forest cover in our country to 30 percent by 2025. Under this budget measures were taken to provide financial assistance to the Ministries of Environment, Wildlife and Forest Conservation. At present the forest cover in our country is 29 percent. If we want to increase the forest cover to 30 percent, we have to increase the forest cover by another 01 percent. For that 16,000 hectares of new forestation should be done.
That task is not an easy one. But we have accepted that challenge. The Air Force has launched an aerial program to drop the seeds of various plants into the forest using aircraft. According to the information I have received, they are currently sowing seeds in an area of about 200 acres.
Husma Dena Thuru a sigh of relief under the National Tree Planting Program initiated by the Ministry of Environment, our goal is to plant 02 million saplings over the next five years. But we can surpass that target in two years. We were able to plant over 1.5 million seedlings in the first year alone.
Today about 180 saplings are being planted under this tree planting program. We will take steps to plant fruit trees to provide shelter for the devotees who visit these shrines and to provide food for the wildlife living in the area. This historical place where the Atamasthana including Ruwanweliseya and Thuparamaya are located was formerly known as Mahamevuna Uyana.
I have heard that it is called Mahameghavanaya because of the large number of trees planted in this garden and the fact that the whole garden is always dark like a rain cloud.
Also, this garden is the first garden built by a king in the history of this country. Chronicles state that Mahamevuna Uyana was created by King Mutasiva, the father of King Devanam Piyatissa. Therefore, we have a responsibility to preserve this historic heritage,”he said.
Sajjana de Silva, Director General of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau was also present at the occasion.