Jalandhar / Faridabad, January 2, 2013: The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee today formally inaugurated the 27th International Crafts Mela at Surajkund, Faridabad (Haryana).
Informally, the Mela has started from February 1 and will continue upto February 15.
Mukherjee said that after the modest beginning in 1987 in a small area of three acres, today it has become an International Fair and the area has increased to over 40 acres. Last year, 12 countries had taken part in the Mela and this year 20 countries, besides India, are taking part in the mela. Last year over 10 lakh people visited the mela. This year this figure is expected to go up.
Mukherjee said that this Mela presents the vivid picture of country’s culture, traditional crafts and arts. As theme state, Karnataka has presented its architecture crafts and culture in different forms. The foreign artisans, artists and visitors, who visit the Mela, get a glimpse of India’s civilisation and culture. They also get a chance to present their culture and crafts. This Mela is contributing a lot in saving tradition crafts and arts.
Mukherjee said that there is need to increase investment and improving the infrastructure in this field and making available the markets for traditional craft products. In the field of exports the share of these products is just two percent which needs to be increased. He said that the global slowdown has affected the sale of craft products. Use of modern techniques in this field, will help in popularising these products.
Mukherjee appreciated the efforts being made by Haryana in innovation. He particularly commended the activities of Tourism Department of Haryana, saying that this mela is important from the point of view of tourism also. He expressed hope that other state will also organise such melas.
Welcoming the President, the Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that his presence has enhanced dignity of this Mela. The President was to come by Helicopter, but due to dense fog, he decided to come by car for this programme. We are very grateful to him.
Hooda said that this year about 800 artisans and weavers are taking part in the mela, which include the artisans and weavers from Africa, Eurasia and SAARC countries. Karnataka is the theme state of the Mela, which has rich culture and traditions. The object of this Mela is to promote handicrafts, arts and the culture of the country. Hooda said that this Mela has promoted rural crafts. Because of this Mela, new generation gets to know about country’s heritage. Keeping in view, the increasing popularity of the Mela and increasing number of artisans and visitors, the facilities have been increased in the Mela. The area of the Mela has gone over 40 acres and the number of huts has gone up to 734 from 630.
The Tourism Minister of Karnataka Anand Singh said that Karnataka is one state, but has many cultures. The architect of the state has been presented on different gates of the Mela. The Apna Ghar reflects about the normal life style of Karnataka. About 300 folk artists and 150 crafts persons and artisans are participating in the Mela. On 9th February on Karnataka Day, a fashion Show will also be organised.
Earlier, the Principal Secretary, Tourism of Haryana Vijay Vardhan welcomed the guests.
After lighting of the lamp,the theme state Karnataka presented a grand show of dance with participation of 150 artists, under the direction of Rajya Sabha MP, Padamshree Dr. B. Jayshree. The dance troupe of Tajikistan also presented a dance item.
Earlier, on arrival, the President was given a warm welcome by Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia and Chief Minister Hooda at the Hoysala gate, which was followed by ribbon cutting at Dasara gate.
A dance troupe from Zambia put a traditional performance for the President, while he was on his way to Chaupal, the venue of formal inauguration of the Mela.
Haryana’s Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Tourism Department Ramkishan Fouji presented the vote of thanks.
Those present on this occasion, included Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia, Minister Mahender Pratap and Pt. Shiv charan lal Sharma, CPS Sharda Rathore, MP Avtar Singh Bhadana, MLAs Anand Kaushik and Raghuvir Tewatia, Faridabad Mayor Ashok Arora, Secretary Tourism Government of India Parvez Dewan, PS to CM Haryana Chatter Singh and Media Advisor Shiv Bhattia, DGP S.N. Vashist, Additional Chief Secretary of Karnataka Arvind Jadhav, MD Tourism of Haryana Anand M. Saran and others.