A week long International fame Shivratri Fair begins today at Mandi. Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister led the Shivratri procession from the Shrine of presiding deity Raj Madhav Rao to the venue of the celebration Paddal Ground after paying his obeisance to the Presiding deity. The procession consisted of about two hundred local deities decorated in palanquins and accompanied by their instrumentalist, Band Squads, devotees, contingents of Himachal Police, Home Guards etc. etc.
Chief Minister also inaugurated the exhibitions put up by various departments of the State, Public Sector Undertakings, Government of India, Self Help Groups, commercial organisations etc. and was also introduced to the tiny tots clad in fashioned attires to present a fashion panorama to the visiting dignitaries. He was accompanied by Shri Jai Ram Thakur, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister, Shri Mahender Singh, Transport Minister, Shri Dile Ram and Shri Anil Sharma, MLAs, former MP Shri Maheshwar Singh, former MLAs, Shri D.D.Thakur, Sshri Mohan Joshi, Chairman, MILKFED, Shri Ram Swaroop Sharma, Vice Chairman, HP State Civil Supplies Corporation, Shri Ajay Rana, State Vice President, BJP, Shri Narender Atri, State President, BJYM, Shri Khira Mani Chairman, Zila Parishad, Smt. Sushila Sonkhla, President Municipal Committee, Mandi, Shri Parveen Sharma, State Secretary, BJP.
Addressing the mammoth gathering assembled to witness the inaugural ceremony at Paddal Ground, Chief Minister greeted the people of the State, especially people of district Mandi, on the Shivratri Mahotsava celebration and wished them all a joyous celebration. He also welcomed the participating deities to the fair which had been instrumental in giving devotional feel to the people participating.
Chief Minister said that bye-pass would be constructed to decongest the town, possibilities to be explored to bore a tunnel connecting road with Manali road and motivate private players to open new University in the district. He said that parking slot would also be developed and possibilities explored to shift the prison out of the town to develop the space for development of parking slots. He appreciated the achievements of the district in different sectors, especially MNREGA which was benefiting the people in rural areas immensely.
Prof. Dhumal said that Himachal Pradesh was land of fairs and festivals, Gods and Godesses where people have immense faith in devotional powers. He said that Mandi was popularly known as ‘Chhoti Kashi’ for the large number of temples town had. He said that it was the devotional powers which keep the State emotionally integrated and strengthen the bond of universal brotherhood.
Chief Minister said that IIT classes had been started in Mandi town and ESI Hospital and Medical College would also be taking off by next academic session wherein reservation to the local people had been ensured. He said that these two prestigious national level institutions would further enhance the popularity of the district besides making it a prominent tourism spot.
Chief Minister was presented a draft of Rs. 2.51 lakh by Dr. Amandeep Garg, DC, as contribution towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund on the occasion. He also enjoyed the spell bound cultural programme presented by the school children to make the moment memorable.
Chief Minister also released the souvenir brought out to mark the celebration and was also presented a special supplement of Amar Ujala daily brought out to commemorate the occasion.
Dr. Amandeep Garg, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman, International Shivratri Festival Organisation Committee, welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked him for inaugurating the traditional week long festival wherein over two hundred local deities mark their presence. He delved upon the historical back ground of the festival which was a major attraction to the local people and visitors as well. He also detailed the cultural, sports and other activities scheduled to be organised during the week long festival.
Shri J.R. Thakur, Inspector General of Police, Shri Ashwani Kapoor, Divisional Commissioner and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.