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The dream of a Sri Lankan inventor was brought to fruition with the assistance of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon this week when Indresri Karunatilaka launched his eco friendly boat on the waters of the Beira Lake.
Members of the family of the legendary inventor Deshamanya Ray Wijewardene were among the first passengers on board the 12-foot, eco-friendly ‘Nadee Yathra’ – the winner of the inaugural ‘The Ray’ award for invention presented in 2012 by the Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission and the Commercial Bank.
As Principal Sponsor of this life-time award, the Commercial Bank provided a grant of Rs. 1 million to enable Karunatilaka to prepare the invention for commercialisation.
On Thursday 22nd May, the blue and white craft which can seat four people and has a mid-mounted 15hp motor was formally launched in the presence of representatives of the three organisations that supported its fabrication from an award-winning prototype to a commercially viable conveyance that can traverse inland waters without disturbing river banks and riverbeds.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Commercial Bank’s Chief Financial Officer Mr Nandika Buddhipala, one of the Trustees of the Bank’s CSR Trust, said innovation is the key to economic development, and that in that context, the Commercial Bank is proud to be associated with the Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust to help stimulate inventions and innovations that contribute to viability and sustainability.
Representing the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission, Commissioner Deepal Sooriyarachchi said it is encouraging to see organisations like the Commercial Bank coming forward to support inventors and innovators of this nature, thereby giving an impetus to a national endeavour. “It is only through innovation that we can win economic prosperity for the country,” he said.
An accountant by profession, inventor Indresri Karunatilaka inherited a dormant passenger and cargo transport business from his grandfather, but could not resume the service along the Kalu Ganga because environmental regulations now prohibit motor boats on Sri Lanka’s rivers due to the damage caused to riverbeds by the waves they generate. This inspired him to design a unique new rectangular boat with a revolutionary hull shape that can travel at speed without creating a wave, and even minimises ripples, -- an invention that was chosen from six shortlisted for the prestigious ‘The Ray’ award in October 2012.
Presented in memory of Deshamanya Ray Wijewardene (1924 – 2010), The Ray Award is open to all Presidential Award winners of the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission, in the categories of Sustainable Agriculture, Renewable Energy, Engineering and Aeronautics, disciplines that were close to his heart.
The largest private bank in Sri Lanka and the only Sri Lankan Bank to be listed three years consecutively in the world’s Top 1,000 Banks, Commercial Bank operates a network of 235 branches and 588 ATMs in Sri Lanka. Ranked the most valuable private sector brand in the country in 2014, the Bank has won multiple awards as Sri Lanka’s best bank over several years, and was adjudged one of the country’s 10 best corporate citizens by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in 2013.
Picture shows Mr.IndresriKarunatilakain his award-winning eco-friendly boat at the launch.