Kullu : The week-long international Kullu Dussehra festival concluded on Monday with great fanfare and enthusiasm. More than 281 deities from various parts of Kullu district participated in this cultural extravaganza. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, while presiding over the concluding ceremony held at Lal Chand Prarthi Kala Kendra, Kullu announced to increase the nazrana (honorarium) of local deities participating in Kullu Dussehra festival by five per cent. He also announced increase of 25 per cent in distance allowance (Duri Bhatta) given to the deities.
He announced 15 percent increase in remuneration of Bajantaris, who accompany the local deities to the festival besides increasing the amount for celebrating Haripur and Manikaran Dussehra from Rs 75,000 to Rs one lakh and for Vashisht Dussehra festival from existing Rs 50,000 to Rs. 75,000. He said that the ‘Gur’ of the Deities would be provided separate amount of Rs 1000. The Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh was known as ‘Dev Bhoomi’, as the people of the State had great faith in the Deities in almost every occasion and event. He said that the people also deserve appreciation for preserving the rich culture, age-old customs and traditions of the State. He said that in the present era when the whole world has become a global village in real sense, conserving and preserving our age old traditions for the future generations was indeed appreciable.
Jai Ram Thakur said that the Kullu Dussehra provides livelihood to the indigenous community as they provide them a platform to display their products for a much wider audience. This festival was also contributing immensely in promoting tourism in the State with tourists visiting Kullu to watch this cultural extravaganza from world over. He said that the endeavour of the State government was to add some innovative events to the Kullu Dussehra, but at the same time it was being ensured that age old traditions were kept alive. He said that under Jal Jeevan Mission, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, 32 projects had been sanctioned for Kullu district under which Rs 160 crore would be spent. He said that under public works, Rs 38 crore budget outlay had been kept for Kullu Circle. The work on four laning of national highway had been expedited and the stretch between Sundernagar to Manali would be completed within a year.