World famous Swarnim International Shivratri Fair of Mandi began today with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur formally announcing the opening of the Mela at historic Paddal ground in Mandi.Earlier, the Chief Minister, after paying obeisance at the temple of principal deity Madho Rai, participated in the traditional ‘Jaleb’, Shobha Yatra, which started from Shri Raj Madhav Rai temple and culminated at Paddal ground.Thousands of people dressed in their traditional attire participated in the procession carrying their local deities dancing all the way upto Paddal ground. Over 150 deities participated in the ‘Jaleb’, the traditional Shobha Yatra from almost all parts of the district.Earlier, the Chief Minister participated in the Pagri Ceremony and performed Puja at Shri Raj Madhav Rai Temple.While addressing the people at historic Paddal Ground, Chief Minister felicitated the people of the State on the auspicious occasion of International Shivratri festival, which was being celebrated this year as Swarnim International Shivratri Fair to mark glorious fifty years of Statehood. He said that the world was yet to come out from corona pandemic and we all need to be cautious as the crisis was not yet over. He said that fortunately, the number of covid-19 cases were declining constantly, which was a big sigh of relief. He said that this was due to precautions adopted by the people and timely decisions taken by the Central leadership.Jai Ram Thakur said that this year the Mandi Shivrati has gained more importance as it was being celebrated this year when the Nagar Parishad has been upgraded to Municipal Corporation. He said that the Municipal Corporation would ensure that the Mandi town is developed in a planned and systemic manner. He said that today he has inaugurated a Command and Control Centre at Mandi to ensure strict vigil on any uncalled activities in the town. He said that in addition to this, this would also help in regulating traffic in Mandi. He said that projects worth Rs 17.50 crore were dedicated to the people of Mandi town by him today.
Chief Minister said that work of Sewerage Scheme for Mandi town has been expedited and all the nallahs in the town would be channelized. He said that Rs. 500 crore project for channelization of Suketi Khud has been posed for Central government for approval and funding. He said that Multi-purpose stadium would also be constructed in Mandi town by spending an amount of Rs. 50 crore. He said that Rs. 150 crore Shiv Dham Project was also coming up at Kangnidhar in Mandi. He said that Mandi was known as Chhoti Kashi and Shiv Dham would emerge as one of the tourist attraction in the area. He said that multipurpose parking would also be constructed in Mandi city and would be completed by next Shivratri.Jai Ram Thakur said that three years tenure of the State Government has been full of achievements and accomplishments. He said that almost every section of the society has been benefitted by the policies and programmes of the State Government. He said that fairs and festivals were integral part of the rich cultural repository of the State and should be celebrated in a befitting manner. He said that the district administration have been directed to ensure adequate arrangements for the people accompanying the deities. He said that the State Government has made adequate provision for welfare of every section of the society in the budget for the financial year 2021-22, despite Covid-19 crisis.Chief Minister announced increase of 5 percent in honorarium of Bajantries accompanying the deities. Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the exhibition at Paddal Ground set up by various Departments, Boards and Corporation and evinced keen interest in the exhibition.Jai Ram Thakur also inaugurated Saras Mela on the occasion.Chief Minister released a colourful souvenir on Swarnim International Shivratri Fair.
Jai Ram Thakur also released title cover of CD bhajans sung by Anand Kumar.Chief Minister also inaugurated Re-live The Past exhibition on Mandi, which is dedicated to cultural heritage, customs and tradition of Mandi district.Chief Minister also honoured Primi Devi of Jarol village in Seraj Vidhan Sabha area and Tota Ram of Kotli in Mandi district for donating their land for construction of roads and school, students Ms. Geetanjali, Jyotsna, Priya, Khem Raj and Chaman Lal for winning competitions held by the Mandi district PWD on Road Safety, Cleanliness campaign and Earth quake resistance technique. He also honoured Government contractors Dinesh Kumar, Ajay Sharma/Vijay Sharma, Suleman Ansari, Ajay Pathania and Avinash Dhiman for their outstanding progress in execution of various road works under PMGSY. He also released a booklet ‘Nirman Ke Meel Pathar’ brought out by the PWD Mandi on various major projects executed by the Department in the district. He also released a Booklet on ‘Wildlife of Mandi district’ brought out by the Forests Department, Mandi on birds found in the district. He also released a book written by a lecturer Dr. Tara Sen in local Government Degree College.Deputy Commissioner Mandi and Chairman International Shivratri Fair Organizing Committee Rugved Thakur welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries present on the occasion. He said that Shivratri fair of Mandi was a unique cultural repository of Himachal Pradesh. He said that the theme of this year’s event is the fifty glorious years of Himachal Pradesh and this year as many as 216 deities were invited to participate in this fair. He said that exhibition on the glorious and golden journey of the State during the last fifty years was the main attraction of the fair. He said that awareness Rath has also been included in the procession to drive in the theme of Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao.Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur, MP Ram Swaroop Sharma, MLAs Col. Inder Singh, Rakesh Jamwal, Jawahar Thakur, Vinod Kumar, Hira Lal and Prakash Rana, former MLA D.D Thakur and Kanhiya Lal, Chairman Milkfed, Nihal Chand Sharma, Chairman Waqf Board Rajbali, District BJP President Ranveer Singh, General Secretary Child Welfare Council Payal Vaidya, Chairperson Mandi Nagar Parishad Suman Thakur, Chairman Zila Parishad Pal Verma, SP Mandi Shalini Agnihotri, Chief Engineer PWD Ajay Gupta were also present on the occasion