Students in 261 schools in the Tamil-dominated Eastern Province in Sri Lanka will begin their first lessons in computers in a few days. On Saturday, India gifted 1,250 computers and peripherals to the schools in the area.

Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha handed over a few of these to selected school principals at a function here. He requested the provincial government to provide internet facility for all schools so that the students could learn better with the support of online content. Another initiative of the Indian government was to equip the Siddha faculty of the Eastern University here as part of its efforts to assist Sri Lanka in promoting traditional medicine forms. Sri Lanka has a long history and tradition in practising Ayurveda and Siddha medicine.

Mr. Kantha, who handed over the assistance here, said the Eastern Province had been receiving support from India for many development projects. Recently, 5 units of rail compartments were gifted to the Eastern Province to improve connectivity between two main cities in the east, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. As many as 20 buses were gifted between 2008 and 2010. India was also providing assistance to set up vocational training centres in Batticaloa. The centres, costing $3 million, will be ready this year.

An Indian NGO, SEWA, is training widows in the Eastern Province on means of livelihood. The $2 million project involves sending selected widows to India and training them in various trades. They will function as master-trainers and train many more women here.