Indian aid to restore Shwedagon Pagoda

The Hindu, June 23, 2008

NEW DELHI, India -- Union Minister of State of Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh presented a cheque for US$200,000 (about Rs.80 lakh) to the trustees of the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon on Sunday.

The contribution will assist in the repair of the holy shrine following damage caused to it by the recent Hurricane Nargis, according to information reaching here.

According to Myanmarese tradition, two merchants — Tapussa and Ballika — met the Buddha after his enlightenment and were given eight hairs from the holy man’s head which are enshrined deep within the Shwedagon Pagoda.

Handing over the cheque, Mr. Ramesh said that it demonstrated the goodwill that the people of India have for the Myanmarese. The assistance also showed the deep cultural, geographical and historical bonds between the two countries. India was among the very first countries to send relief supplies as well as team of doctors to Myanmar in the aftermath of Hurricane Nargis.

India had also agreed to finance the cost of 16 power transformers that were damaged in the cyclone. The assistance would amount to about $20 lakh.

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