Minister for Culture K.C. Joseph has hailed the contribution of the Tamil business community settled in Kerala, particularly in Thiruvananthapuram, to the development of the State.

He was inaugurating the six-day golden jubilee celebrations of the Thiruvananthapuram Tamil Sangam here on Tuesday.

Mr. Joseph said the Tamil community had become part of the development process in the State. A number of business establishments, educational institutions, and hospitals established here by Tamils had helped local people find means of livelihood. He stressed the need for harmonious coexistence of both the communities.

Tamil was one of the first languages in south India to get classical status. The great literary works in Tamil were testimony to its ancient culture, he said.

Praising Tamil Nadu for the excellent strides it had made in providing infrastructure, particularly in the road sector, he said Kerala could learn a lot from the neighbouring State in providing better urban amenities to people.

Health Minister V.S Sivakumar said the United Democratic Front government was always sympathetic to the demands of linguistic minorities, and recalled the decision taken by A.K. Antony when he was the Chief Minister to accord five per cent reservation to linguistic minorities in schools and colleges. The government had taken steps to fill the vacancies of Tamil teachers in schools, he said.

Hailing the contributions of the Tamil community settled in the city, Mr. Sivakumar said he would try to prevail upon the city Corporation to name the stretch from PRS to Jagathy as Tamil Sangam Road. The work to improve the stretch had begun and it would be completed soon.

P.R.S Murugan, managing director of PRS Group; Gowthaman, managing director of QRS Group; and M. Muthuraman, president of Thiruvananthapuram Tamil Sangam, were present.