Visit of the High Commissioner of India to Kandy
High Commissioner Mr. Ashok K. Kantha visitedKandy in the Central Province on 16 November 2012. During the visit, he called on the MostVenerable Udugama Buddharakkita, Mahanayake Thero of Asgiriya Chapter and the Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala, Mahanayake Thero of Malwatte Chapter.
He also met Hon’ble Sarath Ekanayake, Chief Minister of Central Province and attended a luncheon meeting organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Central Province.
During his calls on the Mahanayake Thero of Asgiriya Chapter and the Mahanayake Thero of Malwatte Chapter, the High Commissioner highlighted the series of initiatives undertaken by India to jointly commemorate the Sambuddhatva Jayanti with Sri Lanka. He mentioned that he was particularly impressed by the overwhelming public response to the Exposition of Kapilavastu Relics at all the ten venues in Sri Lanka.
He was happy to learn that approximately 3.5 million devotees had paid homage to the Sacred Relics, which had been brought to Sri Lanka by the Minister of Culture of India on 19th August 2012, in response to the special request made by the President of Sri Lanka to the Prime Minister of India.
The High Commissioner noted that Buddhism continued to be one of the common threads binding India and Sri Lanka. The President of Sri Lanka had laid the foundation stone of the University of Buddhist and Indic Studies at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, during his visit to India in September 2012. He extended invitations to the two Mahanayake Theros to visit India. The Mahanayake Theros of the Asgiriya and the Malwatte Chapters appreciated the special gesture of the Government of India in organizing the exposition of the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka and acknowledged the deep cultural and spiritual bonds between India and Sri Lanka.
The High Commissioner and the Chief Minister of the Central Province reviewed progress in the Indian-assisted development projects currently being undertaken in the Province, including the construction of a 150-bed hospital at Dickoya fully grant-funded by the Government of India and the construction of 4000 houses in the Central Province under the third phase of the Indian Housing Project, which is expected to commence soon.
The High Commissioner announced that the Dickoya Hospital project was expected to be completed on schedule by July 2013 and requested the full involvement of the Central Province Administration in the Indian Housing Project. He also pointed out that the Corpus Fund for CEWET had been doubled and that the number of general scholarships for deserving Sri Lankan students had been trebled.
Responding to specific requests, the High Commissioner offered Indian assistance in reviving the closed Hotel Management School in Kandy by conducting training courses. He also offered to provide medical equipment to the upcoming Cancer Treatment Section in the Kandy General Hospital, similar to projects undertaken by India to provide critical medical equipment to General Hospitals at Jaffna, Killinochi and Mulaitivu under the Small Development Programme Scheme. The High Commissioner extended an invitation to the Hon’ble Chief Minister to visit India.
During the business luncheon organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Central Province, the High Commissioner announced that a half-day Business Seminar would be organized in Kandy in December this year to create further awareness about the business opportunities between India and Sri Lanka, particularly the advantages offered by the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and the additional benefits to be made available by the proposed CEPA.
- Asian Tribune -