(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –In a special ceremony held on 9 October 2018, the Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Auditorium built with Indian grant assistance of SLR 300 million at the University of Ruhuna, Matara in the Southern Province, was dedicated to the people of Sri Lanka jointly by High Commissioner of India H.E. Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Vice Chancellor of the University of Ruhuna Senior Professor Gamini Senanayake. The ceremony was attended by a large gathering of more than 1000 people including the faculty, supporting staff, students of the university and other invited guests.
As part of the program and as continuation of the celebrations of 150th Birth Anniversary of father of the Indian Nation Mahatma Gandhi which started on 2nd October 2018, a brief video of his message and teachings was played.
The state of art auditorium with 1500 seating capacity is the largest in any of the Universities in Sri Lanka. It has been designed by the famous Sri Lankan Architect Geoffrey Bawa to conform to the philosophy of “Tropical Modernism”. The buildings of the Ruhuna University which is celebrating its 40th year of inception, have also been designed under the guidance of Geoffry Bawa.
The auditorium named after Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is a symbol of cultural links with India. The great Indian poet and noble laurate has left behind an enduring aesthetic and intellectual heritage for the whole of South Asia and the world. This auditorium upholds his legacy. It will also address the needs of students and public of the Southern Province for cultural and academic activities.
The auditorium is yet another example of India-Sri Lanka people-oriented development partnership. The overall development portfolio of Government of India in Sri Lanka is close to 3 billion USD. Out of these around 550 million USD is pure grant assistance and the rest of them being concessional credit. India’s development cooperation projects are not limited to specific regions or sectors. India partners with Sri Lanka according to Sri Lanka’s needs and the development projects are being executed all across Sri Lanka.
In addition to the Indian Housing Project with a total commitment to build 60000 houses in Sri Lanka (the largest grant project of India abroad) and the 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service, India has completed so far close to 70 small development projects across the Island in all the provinces in areas including health, education, capacity building, livelihood assistance, women empowerment, skill development, industrial and vocational training, and infrastructure development.
Currently there are more than 20 such ongoing people-oriented development projects under the grant assistance of government of India which include construction of rainwater harvesting units, construction of toilets, upgradation and construction of schools including the tri lingual school in Polonnaruwa, and construction of buildings for Universities.