Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced a 10 per cent increase in the ‘nazarana’ of the deities participating in the Shivratri festival that began here today. He also announced a 10 per cent increase in the honorarium of ‘Bajantaris’.
The week-long fair began here with the shobha yatra of Madho Rai deity. Hundreds of deities along with their followers took part in the procession. Over 140 deities arrived in the town yesterday and they would stay here till the end of the festival.
The Chief Minister inaugurated the festival by participating in the ‘pagri’ ceremony and ‘puja’ at the Madho Rai Temple in Mandi town. He also presided over the shobha yatra from the Madho Rai Temple to the Paddal Mela ground.
He said, “It is vital that we respect our traditions and culture, as only those societies thrive that respect and love their culture. The Mandi Shivratri festival not only reflects the deep faith of people in their gods and goddesses but also provides an opportunity to them for socialising,”
Thakur said, “In the present era of cut-throat competition, people usually have little time to participate in festivals, which is a matter of concern. Himachal is known as Dev Bhoomi, as the lives of the people of the state are deeply influenced by local gods and goddesses”.
He said that the state was celebrating the golden jubilee year of its statehood. During these 50 years it had made unprecedented and unparalleled development in all spheres. He added that the government had decided to celebrate the year in a befitting manner by highlighting the achievements of Himachal in the last 50 years.
The Chief Minister said that a Shiv Dham would also be developed in Mandi town, besides the construction of a heliport to attract tourists. He added that the government was striving to construct an international airport in the Balh area of Mandi. He added that a multi-storey parking would be constructed in Mandi town.
Thakur announced a trekker hut for tourists to be constructed in the town and Rs 20 lakh for two ambulance roads. He also announced the construction of additional three floors of the bus stand. He inaugurated an exhibition and the SARAS Mela at the Paddal Ground. He visited the exhibition put up by the Information and Public Relations Department, which depicted the journeys of all Chief Ministers of the state. He was also handed over the baton (torch) by the district administration regarding the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.
The Chief Minister released ‘Shivratri Margdarshika’, a booklet on rituals and customs regarding the Shivratri fair, besides a souvenir brought out by the organising committee.
Thakur was accompanied by IPH Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, Rural Development Minister Virender Kanwar, MP Ramswaroop Sharma and MLAs from the district. Meanwhile, Mandi Sadar MLA Anil Sharma was not present on the stage.
Source : The Tribune