With a new BJP government at helm in the state, Arunachal Pradesh celebrates its 31st Statehood Day focusing on development and women empowerment. Gracing the occasion, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called the Northeast a ‘holy place’ and one of the richest in the country. Northeast Today reports:
Arunachal Pradesh celebrated its 31st statehood day on February 20 in a ceremony representating the changing times of the state. Celebrations reached a crescendo as the frontier state with a new BJP government in the state left no stone unturned to mark the day in the collective consciousness of the people. Observed across the state, Chief Minister Pema Khandu in a message said that Arunachal is rising and that it is time for the people of the state to act and utilize the resources available in their hands. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted the state on the occasion, tweeting, “Statehood Day greeting to the citizens of Arunachal Pradesh. May the state scale new heights of development in the coming times.”
The biggest event was held at the Indira Gandhi Park in the state capital Itanagar. The day also kicked off the “Festival of Arunachal 2017”. Senior leaders including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP national secretary Ram Madhab and Union MoS Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju also addressed the huge gathering at the venue.
“In 2001, the NDA government under Prime Minister A B Vajpayee created the Ministry of Department of Northeastern region as an independent one. After this, the region got a momentum in terms of develop-ment,” Rajnath Singh told the gathering, adding, “And now Prime Minister Narendra Modi had rechristened the ‘Look East Policy’ as ‘Act East Policy’ to fast track development in the region after years of negligence.”
The senior BJP leader said the Centre was keen on development of Arunachal Pradesh which is “strategically located sharing international borders with China, Bhutan and Myanmar”, and assured full support to the state for its all-round development. Singh said, “Arunachal Pradesh is in its full youthfulness and interestingly the Chief Minister is also the youngest in the country. He has the vision and will power to lead the state to the zenith of development.”
“I am confident that under Pema Khandu, Arunachal Pradesh will shine among developed states of the country,” Singh further said.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Minister Pema Khandu urged the Centre for a development package for the border areas. “The state shares three international borders and the state government is focused on development of the border areas to provide people with all basic amenities to lead a better life so that the tendency of migration can be checked,” he quoted.
Khandu also submitted a memorandum in this regard to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sanctioning several schemes for the state in the last two years, Khandu assured of implementing all central projects with transparency.
Promising more focus on the state and reminding the initiatives under Look East Policy, the leaders committed their confidence on the youngest Chief Minister of the country.
As a dedication to women empowerment, three top designers of the state – Techi Yapar, Jenjum Gadi and Bonnie Darang showcased their collection to win appreciation from people of all walks of life. Based on the strong, self independent modern women, a fashion sequence was done by non professional working ladies who made a statement of women power on the stage.
The first evening of the four day festival was hosted by seasoned emcee and anchor Mandira Bedi with the star performance of the night Sunidhi Chauhan attracting thousands of denizens who were on their feet during the show. Artiste like folk fusion rock band Indian Ocean, Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam and Kolkata based rap rock band, ‘Underground Authority’ attracted thousands of people in the four day festival.
Laser shows, cultural troupes representing all major tribes, performances by school children and young and seasoned artists from the state and abroad was also among the top attractions of the fest. Besides music and dance, a traditional food village, departmental stalls and roadside vendors were set up displaying information, awareness, entertainment and food.
Another start attraction of the festival was the film festival of Arunachal which featured movies from the state and Northeast. It also included workshop and short movie competition with attractive prizes.
Boulevard of Colours
The twin capitals of Arunachal Pradesh were on a carnival mode for a week as two festivals celebrating the statehood of the “Land of Rising Sun” rocked the two cities of Itanagar and Naharlagun with an array of celebrity performances, cultural and tradition extravaganza along with tremendous display of local handicrafts and cuisines.
Three stages were setup based on themed messages like “women empowerment, need for education, and pledge to life”. Streets were lightened up with shimmering bulbs, complementing the title of the festival “Boulevard of colours”.
Food stall were set up on streets along special corners featuring local authors, painters and designers showcasing their work. The first day of the carnival celebration featured a procession with all the major tribes of the states participating and giving it a colourful amalgam of rich culture and traditional diversity of the state. The three stages also featured traditional artists, rock bands and hip hop acts among others. Boulevard of Colours 2017 gave people from all sections of the society a reason to cheer for.