SHILLONG, July 15 - The two-day Asian Confluence River Festival - NADI, 2016 got underway here today where observers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and India and experts on rivers and rural development came together to explore the possibilities of enhancing cultural ties and amplifying the creative use of riverine connectivity.
The festival, organised by the Asian Confluence, India, East Asia Centre, Shillong, in collaboration with Meghalaya Government and Maulana Abul Kamal Azad Institute of Asian Studies, is a celebration of the spirit of commonality between the North Eastern States and neighbouring countries through rivers of the region.
It is aimed at offering the participants a great networking platform with access to both intellectual as well as entertainment events, with a special focus on the shared borders with Bangladesh.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Bangladesh Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Bangladesh Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, former Ambassador of Bhutan to India, Dago Tshering, High Commissioner of Bangladesh in India, Syed Muazzem Ali and High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla spoke at the inaugural session.
Delivering the inaugural address, Sangma said the festival through dialogue and engagement with stakeholders, would pave way for effective convergence and �actionable� for using rivers for mutual benefit and prosperity in the region.
�We need to look at the holistic system of managing our rivers and have a comprehensive action plan involving all stakeholders to ensure that rivers, through scientific usage, become a source of prosperity to all,� Sangma said.
Stating that every livelihood activity revolves around sources of water, the Chief Minister said it was important to ensure that everyone in upstream area understood the ramification of their activities.
He stressed on importance of waterways and on the need to use the natural course of rivers for cheap and environment friendly transportation.
�...To ensure the hydrology of rivers remain sustainable, we also need to see that the State is capable of taking care of the sustainability of the livelihood of the people who are in upstream and catchment areas,� he added.
The highlights of the festival, besides a policy dialogue and stakeholder meetings, include live exhibitions on yarns and dyes, cultural programmes, crafts bazaar, performing arts of border areas, special evening performances by top dance, music and theatre troupes of Bangladesh and NE region.
Asian Confluence is an initiative of Divya Jeevan Foundation to promote an open space for cultural and intellectual exchanges towards creating better understanding of the North Eastern region. � PTI