Indian aid for Ramayana trail may be finalised soon

India’s assistance for the Ramayana trail in Sri Lanka may be finalised in a high level meeting between the two governments next month. India’s help has been sought for development of infrastructure or amenities in the sites that form part of the Ramayana circuit.

About a dozen places have been identified as part of the circuit and Sita Eliya in Nuwera Eliya of the Central Province is one of them, according to Janaka Sugathadasa, Secretary of the Tourism Development and Christian Affairs, Sri Lanka.

Sita's captivity

Legend has it that it is in this place that Sita was held captive by Ravana. About a week ago, Mr. Sugathadasa visited the Sita Eliya where the renovation of a temple for Sita was under way. “The temple’s consecration is scheduled for May 18,” said V. Radhakrishnan, State Minister of Education in the Sri Lanka government, who is one of the Members of Parliament from Nuwara Eliya.

To be held in the third week of June, the meeting, part of the Joint Working Group on Tourism, would pick up from where the officials held discussion four months ago in New Delhi, Mr. Sugathadasa said. It would also deliberate on developing the Buddhist circuit in India.

On the extent of financial assistance sought, Mr. Sugathadasa said the Indian government had conveyed to Sri Lanka to scale down the latter’s original proposal on financial grounds. “We have given our revised proposal. The scale and the total amount will come up for discussion.”

Indian High Commission’s spokesperson Esha Srivastava said legal and other issues would also be examined. The finalisation of the details would lead to signing of a memorandum of understanding which may take place later.

In the meantime, a project of building another temple for Sita in Nuwera Eliya was still in the stage of infancy, Ms Srivastava said, adding that the modalities for the project execution were being worked out. The project’s genesis could be traced to the visit of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in June 2010 when he laid the foundation stone on a land given by the Buddhist monastery. Ms Srivasatava said the MP government had set apart INR one crore for the project.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 6:59:01 PM |

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