Williamnagar, Dec 04: The much awaited Simsang Winter Festival got off to a rousing start at Williamnagar with thousands gathering to see the show on display on Wednesday. The three day extravaganza which is to run from Wednesday to Friday was inaugurated by the Deputy Chief Minister, Rowell Lyngdoh, who was present there along with a host of other dignitaries present on the occasion.
The event is being organized by the East Garo Hills District Administration, led by the Deputy Commissioner, V K Mantri, who began proceedings by stating the reason for the festival itself. He said, “The festival was started quite a few years ago and has been the precursor to the festivities in Garo Hills. It is the time for celebration after a year of hard work and that is the reason for the programme”.
Social Welfare Minister and Williamnagar MLA, Deborah C Marak, said that it was a part of her thought process and she was proud of the activity she started. She also said that tourism was the answer for the ails of the region as it had the potential to create enough for the whole lot. She, however, cautioned saying there were a lot of things that needed to be conducive for the plan to work.
“Our state has the potential to be the best in terms of tourism, but for that to happen there needs to be a sea change in the outlook of the people. While the state has been doing its very best to promote tourism by trying to make our region a tourist destination, we need to learn hospitality for them to come to us,” she stressed.
She took the example of the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland which has been promoted so well that the President of India has gone there to be the Chief Guest. She also said Sikkim needs to serve as the example of how tourism can change the whole state.
The inauguration was concluded by the Deputy CM, who said that being a part of the festival was special and he too felt that there was a need to promote tourism to ensure the economy of the region could change.
The Simsang Festival is a celebration of life, river, people who reside beside the Simsang River, the lifeblood for the region. The event also stressed on afforestation to preserve the essence of the land. Marak even said that the region would lose the right to call the festival of Simsang, if the people did not protect the river itself.
The festival will showcase the talents of the locals on a stage that is tailor made for them. The managers for the event said that the need to promote these talents was the guiding light for the festival. The next few days is expected to show more fervent activity and fervour.