GIS - 24 October, 2016:
The People’s Republic of China has donated restoration equipment for the preservation of documents at the National Archives Department. The donation of equipment estimated at around Rs 1.5 million has been effected in the context of the cultural exchange programme between China and Mauritius.
The handing over of the equipment was done this morning on the premises of the National Archives Department which operates under the purview of the Ministry of Arts and Culture at Coromandel in the presence of the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Santaram Baboo.
In his address, Minister Baboo spoke of the cordial relationship between Mauritius and China since the establishment of bilateral and diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1972. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has evolved significantly with China being a strategic partner to Mauritius, he added.
He lauded China for this remarkable gesture which he said goes in line with the various assistance Mauritius has so far benefitted from China both in terms of financial and technical support. According to him, this action will further strengthen cultural exchange as well as open new avenues of cooperation between the two countries.
The Minister called upon each and every one to demonstrate a sense of responsibility in the preservation, restoration and in maintaining our cultural assets and heritage. On this score, he announced the setting up of the Culture House at Réduit Triangle, which will accommodate both the National Archives Department and the National Library involved in the safeguard of archival documents.
The Culture House project will be financed by the Chinese Government by way of grant for which the agreement will be signed in November 2016. The feasibility study for the project is expected to be ready by end October this year.
For his part, the Ambassador of China to Mauritius, Mr Li Li, spoke of the importance China attaches to the preservation and restoration of documents related to history. He expressed the interest of the Chinese Government to share its experience and collaborate with the Mauritian Government with regards the conservation of the documents retracing Mauritian history stored at the National Archives Department whereby he added that the donation of restoration equipment bears testimony to this endeavor.
The National Archives has its origin from the early settlement of the island, dating as far back as 1721 and its official operation as an institution was proclaimed in 1815 during the British rule. It is the oldest archives in the southern hemisphere, with 198 years of history on paper.
It will be recalled that Government has also earmarked some Rs 50 million in the 2016-2017 Budget to rehabilitate the historical and cultural heritage sites and structures listed under the National Heritage Fund Act.
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