High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha visited Nuwara Eliya in the Central Province from 17-18 November 2012.
During his visit, High Commissioner along with Dullas Alahapperuma, the Minister for Youth Affairs and Skills Development, Government of Sri Lanka, inaugurated the Vocational Training Centre, Nuwara Eliya, by formally handing over the equipments installed at the Centre.
The handing over event was also graced by Members of Parliament Radhakrishnan, Rajadurai; Anushia Shivarajah, Minister for Tamil Education, Central Province; the Mayor of Nuwara Eliya and A. Natarajan, Assistant High Commissioner of India, Kandy, besides the Chairman of VTA, Col. Darshana Ratnayake, W.D. Fernando, Director (Training), VTA and Niroshana Perera, Regional Director, VTC, Nuwara Eliya.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner noted that India had undertaken to implement projects to set up Vocational Training Centres in various parts of Sri Lanka under Indian grant assistance to help students to gain professional knowledge so as to gain meaningful employment and to encourage self-entrepreneurship.
He highlighted that VTC Nuwara Eliya was the fifth Vocational Training Centre set up with the support of the Government of India and would help students from the Central Province and adjoining areas to pursue training and build a career in vocational trade.
India had earlier supported setting up of VTCs at Hatton, Puttalam, Vantharamullai and Onthachimadam in Batticaloa. The High Commissioner encouraged students to avail scholarships offered by India, which had almost been trebled from this year.
A Memorandum of Understanding for setting up the VTC in Nuwara Eliya with an Indian grant assistance of Sri Lankan Rs. 215 million was signed with the Government of Sri Lanka in July 2011. With the handing over of the machinery and equipment, the VTC will start imparting vocational training to students in seven trades (machine shop; industrial and domestic electrician; electronics; hardware and networking; information technology lab; automobile and aluminum fabrication).
The Implementing Agency for the Project, Hindustan Machine Tools HMT(I), has also provided equipment, books, computers, vehicles (three mini buses and one pick-up van) and has already trained nine trainee instructors from Sri Lanka covering various disciplines for a total period of 27 man-months in India. HMT(I) would also be providing on-the-job training by Indian experts.
In his remarks, Dullas Alahapperuma, the Minister for Youth Affairs and Skills Development, expressed his gratitude to the Government and the people of India for providing heavy equipment to the Vocational Training Centre at Nuwara Eliya and said: “India is not only Sri Lanka’s close and intimate neighbour but also racially, culturally and economically so close that no other country in the world could be compared.”
The High Commissioner’s visit to the Central Province helped in reviewing the progress of Indian-assisted projects in the Province and in exploring opportunities to further develop economic, cultural and people-to-people links between India and Central Province of Sri Lanka. The Government of India has been implementing a variety of multi-sectoral projects in Sri Lanka based on the needs and priorities identified by the people of Sri Lanka.