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Centre to set up Classical Tamil Institute in Chennai


New Delhi : The union cabinet Thursday decided to set up a Central Institute of Classical Tamil in Chennai to preserve and develop the language.

“The cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave its approval to a proposal by Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters here.

“The main objective of this decision would be preservation and development of Classical Tamil, which is an integral part of India’s composite heritage.”

The cabinet also decided to designate the chief minister of Tamil Nadu as the institute’s ex-officio chairperson, he said.

“The land measuring about 17 acres will be provided free of cost by the Tamil Nadu government. The central government has agreed to spend up to Rs.763.2 million extended over a period of four years for setting up the institute,” the minister said.

The central government will bear all recurring and non-recurring cost for setting up the institute, Dasmunsi said.

The approval for the institute comes at a time when Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK party, a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi, is unhappy with the Congress that leads the coalition, particularly over the delay in moving forward on the controversial Sethusamudram shipping canal project.

Moreover, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi had been pressing upon Arjun Singh to set up the institute soon.

The UPA government had granted Tamil the status of a classical language, as promised in its national common minimum programme (NCMP). “Since then, the state was asking for a Central Institute for Classical Tamil,” said a DMK source.