The week-long famous traditional International Shivratri fair of Mandi district began today as Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur formally announced the opening of the Mela at historical Paddal ground at Mandi.While addressing the gathering at Paddal stadium, the Chief Minister said that fairs and festivals were the integral part of our rich culture and traditions and deeply imbibed in our life. He said that Mandi Shivratri once was the main attraction for trade and business also. He said that the life of the people of the state revolves around the local Gods and Goddesses and they were inseparable part of the people.The Chief Minister said that Shivratri Fair was a befitting example of union of Dev and Manav that is reunion of humans and deities. He said that all the celebrations and ceremonies held during this Fair were organized as per the age old tradition. Chief Minister said that the State Government recently accorded the International Level status to the Shivratri Fair.Jai Ram Thakur said that the whole nation was shocked by the recent Pulwama terrorist attack. He said that the Nation under the stable and strong leadership of Prime Minister gave befitting really to Pakistan by carrying out surgical strike on Terrorist camps run in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. He said that the diplomatic will power and dynamism of Prime Minister ensured that Indian Pilot Abhinandan was immediately handed over to the country by Pakistan Army. He said that it was unfortunate that some opposition leaders were politicising the whole issue which was uncalled for and unwarranted.The Chief Minister said that the one year tenure of the present State Government has ensured balanced and equitable development of the State. He said that the State Government during this one year was ensuring to give humane face to development. He said that the social security pension being given to the senior citizens has been enhanced from Rs. 1300 to Rs. 1500 per month. He said that 70,000 families have been provided free gas connection under the Grihini Suvidha Yojna. He said that Ayushmaan Bharat Yojna launched by the Union Government was ensuring insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh. As many as 22 lakh people of the State were being covered under this Scheme and for the remaining the State Government has introduced HIMCARE Scheme he added.
Jai Ram Thakur said that several new schemes have been launched in the budget for the year 2019-20. He said that Heli Taxi service has been launched in the State for facilitating the general people and high end tourists. He said that UDAN-II has been launched for the State which was covering Shimla, Kullu and Dharamshala. He said that efforts would be made to develop Mandi as the Tourist destination. He said that for this a big artificial lake would be constructed in the City. He said that Ghats would be developed and concept of Beas Arti would be introduced. In addition, Shiv Dham would be developed in Mandi to make it added attraction to the tourists, he added.The Chief Minister announced Rs. 25 lakh for maintenance of city roads in Mandi town. He announced Rs. 2 crore for building of Nagar Parishad Bhawan. He said that sweeping machine would be provided for Mandi town. He said that statue of Maharana Pratap and Rani Khairgari would be installed in appropriate place in the town. He also announced opening of Engineer-in-Chief (Projects) Irrigation and Public Health at Mandi.The Chief Minister also announced enhancement of honorarium of Bajantri and Nazrana of the Deities by ten percent.The Chief Minister also released a souvenir brought out the Organising Committee of the festival on the occasion.Earlier, after paying obeisance at the famous Madho Rai temple the Chief Minister participated in the traditional ‘Jaleb’ (Shobha Yatra) of Shivratri fair which began from Shri Raj Madhav Temple and ended in Paddal ground. Chief deity Madho Rai led the procession of local deities.The Chief Minister was welcomed as per traditional customs. The Chief Minister wished prosperity to the people of the State on the occasion and particularly to those of Mandi district.The locals draped in their colourful attire thronged the procession carrying along the palanquins of the local deities and marched towards the Paddal Mela ground. As many as 216 Devtas participated in the ‘Jaleb’, the traditional Shobha Yatra, from almost all corners of the district.
Earlier, the Chief Minister participated in Pagri Ceremony and Pooja at Shri Madhav Temple and presided over the Shoba Yatra from Shri Raj Madhav Temple to Paddal Mela Ground.Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the exhibitions at ‘Seri Manch’ set up by various government departments and NGO’s and evinced keen interest in SARAS Mela. He also inaugurated SARAS Mela at Seri Manch.Chief Minister Flagged-off Mobile Clinic vehicle thunder CSR Project of Pawan Hans Limited from Paddal Ground. This Mobile clinic vehicle has state of the art mobile medical facilities for the patients.Later, the Chief Minister also laid foundation stone of Academic Block and Additional Accommodation Building of Government Degrees College Mandi to be completed at a cost of Rs. 22.65 crore. He also laid foundation stone of Auditorium to be constructed by spending Rs. 22 crore. He laid foundation stone of 70 meter span bridge over Ratti Khad to be constructed under CRF by spending Rs. 9.60 crore.Chief Minister also performed Bhoomi Pujan of upgradation of Talyahar Pairi Ratti Road, of Deodhar to Kheel Galoo Road, of Sain Gujar Ra Ropru Road, Batour to Batahar Road, Batahar to Batahan Road, Sainj to Sadoh Road and of upgradation of Chambi to Kuthar Road to be upgraded by spending by spending an amount of Rs. 2.89 crore, Rs. 6.64 crore, Rs. 7.42 crore, Rs. 2.68 crore, Rs. 2.89 crore, Rs. 6.84 crore and Rs. 2.49 respectively.Deputy Commissioner and Chairman of Shivratri Mela committee Rugved Thakur welcomed and honoured the Chief Minister on the occasion. He also briefed about the week-long fair and the activities to be undertaken during the fair. He also detailed the rich culture and history of the International Shivratri Fair. He said that efforts had been made to showcase the art, culture and traditional customs of the district in series of functions. He said that SARAS Mela over the years has emerged as an added attraction for the people. He said that the theme of this year’s Fair is 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao'.Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh, MPP and Power Minister Anil Sharma, Member of Parliament Ram Swaroop Sharma, MLAs Col Inder Singh, Rakesh Jamwal, Jawahar Thakur, Hira Lal, Inder Singh Gandhi and Prakash Rana, Former Minister Roop Singh Thakur, Chairman MILKFED Nihal Chand Sharma, Chairperson Zila Parishad Sarla Thakur, Chairperson Nagar Parishad Mandi Suman Thakur, General Secretary Child Welfare Council Payal Vaidya, Chairman Waqf Board Rajbali, Chairman and MD Pawan Hans T.A. Daya Sagar, SP Mandi Gurdev Sharma were present on the occasion among others.