Sixteen statues of Thiruvalluvar, the author of Tamil treatise on ethics Tirukkural, will be installed across Sri Lanka in the coming weeks, according to V. Radhakrishnan, State Minister of Education, The Hindu newspaper reported.
Among the places where the statues would be kept would be Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullativu and Chavakachcheri (Jaffna), all in the Northern Province; Puttalam in the North West; Colombo in the Western; Matale, Hatton and Nawalapitiya in the Central; Rakwana in Sabaragamuwa and Kaddaiparichchan (Trincomalee), Batticaloa and Thambiluvil (Ampara), all in the Eastern province.
Asked whether there would be any problem in the country in the light of the recent controversy over the installation of a Thiruvalluvar statue in Haridwar of Uttarakhand, India, Radhakrishnan told The Hindu at his office in Battramulla that it was precisely for this reason that he had taken all into confidence before making any move in this regard.
While the payment of certain taxes such as import duty had been exempted for bringing in the statues from India, some other levies such as Value Added Tax had been paid.
Earlier, Radhakrishnan took part in an event to receive formally the statues, which, the Minister said, had been donated by the VGP International Tamil Association.
V. G. Santhosam, president of the Association, said the rationale behind the move was to foster greater understanding between India and Sri Lanka. He also expressed the desire to develop an amusement park in Colombo or Batticaloa.