Port Blair, April 18: Over the next five days, Marina Park Road in the capital would reverberate with the sounds of anklets and musical instruments as the prestigious event – the 23rd Island Tourism and Cultural Festival got off to a colorful start today. The Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Mr. Anindo Majumdar inaugurated the fete as chief guest at a gala event organised in the auditorium of Govt. Girls School here this evening.
Adhyaksha ZPSA, Smti Baby Fareeda, DGP, Smti Nuzhat Hassan, Smt. Rupa Ray and senior officers of the Administration were present at the inaugural function. The Festival will continue up to 22nd April, 2018.
Addressing the gathering, the Chief Secretary stated that this Festival is a unique event and is an opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Islands to the people visiting the Islands, including the artists from different cultural zones of the country. This year, some new initiatives have been taken to add new events in the Festival, such as wellness tourism, adventure water sports, kite making & kite flying, Nicobarese Canoe racing etc. he said.
The Chief Secretary said, for the first time, the event is being organized at a new venue, instead of the earlier ITF Ground; and sought feedbacks from the participants as well as the visitors to the event venue; whether the idea of conducting the ITF in a different venue was good.
The Chief Secretary also appealed to the officials of the Administration for involving the Islanders in the implementation of the ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ that has been launched by the Prime Minister, so that it can be achieved within the timeframe. He also expressed gratitude to all the Departments, especially Tourism and Arts & Culture Departments, for their efforts in organising the Festival.
The Secretary (Tourism), Mr. Ramesh Verma in his welcome address informed that a number of new attractive events have been added in the Festival this time. The main attraction will be the performances of the cultural troupes from South Zone Cultural Center (SZCC) and East Zone Cultural Center (EZCC), including Lakshadweep Islands for the first time, besides the Islands artists, he said and expressed hope that the visiting artists will enjoy their stay here and exchange knowledge of their culture and lifestyles with the Isles’ artistes.
The inaugural ceremony concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by the Director, Art & Culture, Smti Geetika Sharma.
Around 240 artists from SZCC, EZCC and Sangeet Natak Akademi, along with a 28 member Group from Lakshadweep under ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshta Bharat’ programme, are participating in the Festival, representing Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Haryana, West Bengal; besides, 58 local cultural groups, comprising of about 1000 artists.