Friday, March 31

Hill culture fest next year

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Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the government would organise an Asian culture festival in Darjeeling next year.

Mamata also directed development boards in the hills to promote homestays and struck a chord with the people by announcing that the campuses of the planned Darjeeling Hill University would be named after hill icons like Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and poet Bhanubhakta Acharya.

Speaking at an event to lay the foundation of the Chowrasta revamp in Darjeeling, Mamata said: “As part of community policing, Darjeeling police organised a wonderful Rising Star competition. The culture of the hills is so sound, the youths are so talented. In Darjeeling next year, we will organise an Asian culture festival with a competition.”

Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and others will be invited.

The chief minister directed the 15 development boards of the hills to start focusing on homestays. “They are now building homes for the needy but I want them to allocate (50 percent of the funds) for building, beautifying homestays. We started homestays at Lamahatta and with such an initiative many people can earn their livelihoods.”

State principal secretary S.K. Thade has been entrusted with the task of co-ordinating with the development boards while state tourism minister Gautam Deb has been directed to come up with a model.

The chief minister said since cycles could not be provided to hill students unlike in the plains, the 28,000 hill students from Classes IX to Class XII would be given schoolbags and raincoats.

Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of the legendary Everester, was also invited to the dais. “Binay (Tamang) told me that in Takdah, just a building of an engineering college was standing. We can explore the possibility of tying this institution with the new university,” Jamling said.

Source: Times of India

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