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President opens Tokyo Cement’s second Biomass Power Plant in Trincomalee

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  • Initiative marks commemoration of Company founder Late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam

President Maithripala Sirisena ceremoniously inaugurated Tokyo Cement’s second Biomass Power Plant in Trincomalee on 5 May, as part of a series of events held in commemoration of late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, Founder Chairman of the company.

The plant opening was among a series of events held in commemoration of the birth anniversary of renowned late industrialist, Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, which included the foundation laying ceremony for a housing project for 25 families displaced during the war, distribution of deeds to residents of the Tokyo Cement Tsunami Housing Scheme in Nilaveli, foundation laying for a Technical Building and the commissioning of the Biomass Power Plant inside the Tokyo Cement Factory Premises at Cod Bay, China Bay.

R. Sampanthan MP, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya MP, Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, were among the other distinguished guests that were present at the inauguration ceremony. The events were held under the patronage of the Dr. Harsha Cabral PC., Chairman and S.R. Gnanam, Managing Director of the Tokyo Cement Group and the management and staff of the cement giant.

Late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam was a pioneering entrepreneur who ventured into many of Sri Lanka’s firsts, which included the generation of Renewable Biomass Energy. President Sirisena’s visit to the Tokyo Cement Factory to inaugurate the company’s 2nd Biomass Power Plant with a capacity of 8 MW to power the company’s latest manufacturing facility was a salute to his legacy that will continue to live on for generations to come.

The Tokyo Eastern Biomass Plant commissioned by Maithripala Sirisena, began construction in 2015 with an investment of over Rs. 2.5 billion. The plant will contribute 70 Gwh per year to the national grid generated using industrial and agricultural waste sourced through community trade.  In total, the plant will produce 160,000 MW Hours of clean renewable energy per year, which equals to the annual electricity consumption of 100,000 Sri Lankan rural households.

S.R. Gnanam, Managing Director of Tokyo Cement stated, “This contributes towards achieving the National Renewable Energy Target set by His Excellency, that is to generate 10% of our country’s energy requirement through all forms of non-conventional renewable energy resources by 2017. With this landmark opening, the company becomes the single largest contributor of renewable energy in the nation, generating 23 MW with the ability to proudly supply 2.5 MW surplus capacity to the national grid, thus making a significant impact in the country’s Energy Footprint as a single player.”

Being the largest manufacturer of cement and concrete in Sri Lanka, Tokyo Cement set an example for other industrial corporates as well by commissioning the first-of-its-kind agricultural waste power plant in Trincomalee in 2008.  With the objective of becoming energy independent without burdening the national grid, the company established Sri Lanka’s 1st successful large scale Dendro power plant in 2014 in Mahiyangana, with a capacity of 5 MW and started basing its entire production process on Green Energy.

Dr. Harsha Cabral PC., Chairman of Tokyo Cement Company expressing his views on the commemoration ceremony said, “Following in the footsteps of the legacy created by late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, who earned his reputation as a Sri Lankan who cared deeply for his people and the country, the company was among the first to lead the rebuilding efforts after the 2004 Tsunami disaster, by donating company owned land in Nilaveli to provide housing for affected families.  The company extended a helping hand to 25 families by fulfilling their basic necessity for housing, whereupon they could start rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of the devastation.” He further stated, “We thank President Sirisena for attending this prestigious event, and for distributing the deeds to the beneficiaries in honour of late Gnanam, an exemplary leader himself who built a corporate empire, essentially from ground up through hard work and determination.  We as the Tokyo Cement Family is humbled by His Excellency’s participation at today’s event that honours our founding father who, to this day continue to inspire and guide us.”

During the morning’s proceedings Chairman of the Group, President’s Counsel Dr. Harsha Cabral, laid the foundation stone for a new housing scheme that will be dedicated to 25 Internally Displaced Families who have returned from India.  The new housing project, situated adjoining the tsunami houses, is valued at a cost of over 50 m, includes 10 perches of land for each family in Adampodai, Nilaveli.  These beneficiaries, chosen among hundreds by an evaluation committee comprising of local government authorities and Tokyo Cement officials, were living in refugee camps under dire circumstances for decades and now returning to Sri Lanka as part of the reconciliation process, and for the first time will receive a roof above their heads, built upon a plot of land they could call their own.

Tokyo Cement’s commitment to enrich the country, its people and the environment breathes life in many forms keeping the legacy of late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam alive and meaningful.

Tokyo Cement has successfully integrated social welfare and environmental conservation into its corporate DNA, which gets reflected in every aspect of the business. Contributing to conservation in places that makes the biggest impact, the company spearheads programs that preserve and propagate the indigenous fauna and flora of our island nation. Championing this cause, Tokyo Cement Group caries out the Mangroves Reforestation program, where they have successfully planted over 40,000 mangrove saplings, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Navy along the Eastern coastline of Sri Lanka.  Next among the far-reaching conservation efforts is Coral Rehabilitation, where it uses recycled concrete to make Reef Balls that act as substrate for corals to grow on.

With these programs the company has proven that it is within every corporate citizen’s control to make an impact, to achieve sustainable growth while making conservation a business priority.  What fuels the company to take this path is, the very life of late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, which is an inspiring story of courage and perseverance where his many business achievements are only matched by his actions as a philanthropist. The self-taught industrialist, who subscribed to the belief that true value can only be achieved through people with a commitment to quality and service, Gnanam’s legacy and the values he embodied will continue to be the driving force of the Tokyo Cement Group.

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