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* Indian High commissioner on a visit to Sri Lanka's Northern Province
Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 07:49 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 20, Colombo: High Commissioner of India, Ashok K. Kantha, who is visiting the Northern Province of Sri Lanka from July 20 -22, participated in various events held in Jaffna on Friday.

A press statement from the High Commission of India in Colombo said that the High Commissioner attended the plenary inaugural session of the Jaffna University International Research Conference (JUICE 2012) on 'Capacity Development in a Post War Context' which was organized by the University of Jaffna.

In his address, the High Commissioner traced the evolution of India's development assistance to Sri Lanka from the period prior to the end of armed conflict to the present and India's ongoing developmental projects in different sectors such as transport infrastructure, housing, industry, health, education, culture, etc.

He welcomed the scholars who have come from India to partake in the proceedings of the Conference by sharing their knowledge and expertise in capacity-building in various disciplines.

India-Sri Lanka Foundation, established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of India and Sri Lanka in 1998 in order to foster India - Sri Lanka relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation and to promote greater understanding between the people of the two countries, is one of the Platinum Sponsors of JUICE-2012.

Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and the High Commissioner jointly inaugurated the Palmyrah Research Institute in Kaithady, Jaffna.

Indian government has provided vehicles for the Institute and supplied laboratory equipment to the tune of 70 million rupees.

The project will help to revive the Palmyrah industry in Jaffna District with over 3.5 million Palmyrah trees. India's assistance will help to expand the research at the Institute, thereby improving the production and productivity in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and benefiting around 60,000 families whose livelihood depends on Palmyrah either directly or indirectly.

The Institute will also help the Palmyrah farmers and handicraftsmen to improve the quality of their produce and provide market access thereby generating better returns to the farmers and handicraftsmen. The project will also generate self-employment opportunities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The High Commissioner along with the Minister of Economic Development also inspected the land earmarked for the Handicrafts Village in Kaithady, Jaffna. The Handicrafts village, when operational, will have 21 stalls and will generate 1000 man days of employment directly and indirectly. It will provide a platform to bring together the handicraftsmen and potential buyers. It will result in better market access to handicrafts products, generating income opportunities for the artisans and help the local population in livelihood generation through utilization of locally available resources, especially the by-products of coconut and Palmyrah for production of handicrafts.

The High Commissioner will also have meetings with the Council for Peace and Goodwill and Members of Parliament from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today.

In the next two days, High Commissioner Kantha will visit Nainativu, Delft Island, Keerimalai and Maviddapuram temples.

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