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Sri Lanka benefited tremendously from Colombo Plan

"Sri Lanka tops in Colombo Plan (CP) Post Graduate scholarships. In response to the needs of member countries, The Colombo Plan reintroduced its hallmark programme of providing scholarships to deserving individuals from member countries in 2005", said the Colombo Plan Secretary General Patricia Yoon-Moi CHIA at a press briefing held at the Colombo Plan Secretariat recently.

Sri Lanka as one of the seven founder member countries of the Colombo Plan, has benefited tremendously from its many programmes and activities since 1951. Sri Lanka has always been given preference in terms of selection of participants from Colombo Plan programmes conducted in member countries in the region, the CP Secretary General said.

The Colombo Plan was established in 1951, in Sri Lanka, as a unique experiment in international economic cooperation aimed at faster economic and social development of the Asia Pacific region.

The Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programmes (CPDAP), established in 1973, was the first Asia-Pacific regional programme to address the drug problem.

For the last 13 years, since 1995, when four permanent programmes were established in the Colombo Plan, Sri Lanka has received substantial benefits from the Colombo Plan. Sri Lanka is the fourth ranking recipient country in terms of having the highest number of recipient beneficiaries, the CP Secretary General said.

The Secretary-General emphasised that Sri Lanka remained one of the Colombo Plan member countries that have benefited the most with the following development activities- The first batch of Colombo Plan Scholarships was awarded to six dental nurses for training in New Zealand in March 1951, the Norton Bridge Dam, part of Ceylon Lakshapana Scheme, which serves Colombo 50 miles away and areas in between, with Australian aid, Gal Oya Dam providing both irrigation and power, helped to open up the under populated area of Eastern Province in Sri Lanka, Technical Training Institute in Maharagama in 1948 to train Junior Technical Officers (JTOs), the first of whom was Prof. Patuwatha Vittana, Colombo Harbour with Canadian aid, International Airport at Katunayake - completed with Canadian capital and technical assistance, Japanese expertise on bridge building at the Kelaniya bridge project, Katubedda Technical Training Institute in Colombo now known as Moratuwa University, established with Canadian aid, Peradeniya Agricultural Centre funded by Japan, Ceylon Hardy Institute of Technical Training which provided on-the-job training to mechanical engineering students, funded by Canada, Sugar factory at Kanthale, Kandy Technical College at Aruppala in 1956, funded by Canada and of the 40,000 scholarships awarded by the Colombo Plan. In total, from 1995 - 2008, Sri Lanka has benefited from the Colombo Plan with an estimated costs of US $2.97 million. However, in terms of non-monetary benefits, the formation of human capital, the contribution of Colombo Plan to Sri Lanka would be much more, the CP Secretary General said.

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