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* India steps up assistance for Sri Lanka's hill country people
Wed, Nov 10, 2010, 12:39 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 09, Colombo: India has stepped up its assistance for the people in Sri Lanka's central hill country where most of the Indian origin Tamils live, the Indian High Commission in Colombo announced.

During a two-day visit on November 7-8 to the Central and Uva Provinces, India's High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha attended public functions at Talawakelle, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla and Passara.

At these functions he handed over a number of buses donated by his government as part of a project of supplying 55 buses to assist social, cultural, and educational institutions in Sri Lanka at a total cost of rupees 92.95 million, a press release from the Indian High Commission said.

According to the statement 20 of these buses were donated to M/s Annai Kothai Entrepreneur Co. Ltd to develop transport infrastructure for estate workers living in remote areas in the Plantation sector. A similar number of buses had also been provided last year to this company for this purpose.

During his visit, the High Commissioner announced to the local community that India is stepping up its assistance for the upcountry people.

Under the four-fold initiative Indian government will first construct 5,000 new housing units for estate workers as part of the larger commitment for construction of 50,000 houses.

Mr. Kantha said plans are afoot to construct a 150-bed hospital in Dickoya within the next few weeks to improve the medical infrastructure in the area.

The Indian government also plans to substantially increase the number of scholarships for children of estate workers and revamp a Vocational Training Centre in Nuwara Eliya, he said adding that the final aim is to improve the connectivity in the region by providing buses for better transportation.

The High Commissioner also has called on the Governor of Uva Province, C. Nanda Mathew. During the meeting, various proposals to channelize Indian assistance towards development of tourism, education, and agriculture sectors in the Province were discussed, the release said.

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