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* India to construct a cultural center in Sri Lanka's Tamil heartland
Mon, Jun 9, 2014, 07:10 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 09, Colombo: India today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sri Lankan government to construct a Cultural Centre in Jaffna, the capital city of Northern Province.

The High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha and the Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka today signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the project in the presence of Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, the High Commission said in a statement.

The Cultural Centre is to be built in the next 36 months, on a plot of land adjacent to the Jaffna Public Library, made available by the Jaffna Municipal Council.

The Centre and the adjoining water body - the Pullukulam will be transformed into an integrated cultural space that can also accommodate open-air performances with the help of a floating stage.

The purpose of the Jaffna Cultural Centre, which is being built at an estimated cost of Rs.1.2 billion, is to provide suitable social infrastructure for the people of the Northern Province, especially for the people of Jaffna, to help them to reconnect with their cultural roots as well as to the rest of the country and to rejuvenate and nurture the ancient cultural heritage of Jaffna, the High Commission said.

The Centre will enable the people of Jaffna to enjoy various local and international cultural products. It would also serve as a delivery center for training, instruction and education in a variety of cultural disciplines. The Centre is being developed as an iconic building that will emerge as a cultural forum that embodies coexistence and cooperation amongst the various communities on the island.

The Centre would comprise a theatre-style auditorium (with projection facilities) with a capacity of up to 600 people, a multimedia library with on-line research facilities, exhibition and gallery space and a museum. It would also have an instructional wing, which would have facilities to conduct classes in vocal and instrumental music, dance and languages, including a language lab. It would also be able to serve as a hub of socio-cultural activities, for which a conference hall-cum-seminar room is included.

In order to select a unique and iconic design for Jaffna Cultural Centre, the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) was entrusted with the task of conducting a National Design Competition. It has received 29 entries, out of which the design submitted by Architect Madura Premathileka was unanimously selected as the design for the Centre. The evaluation was based on the technical acceptability, context plan, aesthetic / architectural language, space efficiency, buildabillity and environmentally friendly, sustainable architecture.

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