DIGBOI, Jan 16 � The Dehing Patkai Festival got off to a colourful start on the Syu-Ka-Pha harmony ground at Lekhapani this morning with the performance of the Tipam Puja by various local communities, praying to the god of the Patkai hills for all-round peace and well-being of the entire region.
The festival flag was hoisted by the organizing committee president Meenaxi Sundaram, Deputy Commissioner of Tinsukia district. The section of the SHG stalls and the Food Mela were declared open by Ranee Narah, MP of Lakhimpur constituency.
The heritage part of the festival was inaugurated by Prodyut Bordoloi, State Minister of Power, Industries and Commerce and Margherita MLA.
The inaugural event began with an inter-community song based on the theme of harmony and composed and directed by Barun Borah. The event was presided over by Meenaxi Sundaram and attended among others by Bharat Narah, State Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs, as the chief guest, Prodyut Bordoloi, the principal architect of the festival and Ranee Narah as the guests of honour, Apurba J Baruah, AIG of Assam, Diganta Borah, SP of Tinsukia and Monalisa Goswami, Director of Tourism, as distinguished guests.
Meenaxi Sundaram in his welcome speech called the Dehing Patkai Festival as the pride of the north-eastern region and a symbol of unity in diversity. He considered the concept of the 10-year-old event as a pioneering one. Bharat Narah declared the festival open by saying that the festival was the expression of the aspirations of the various ethnic communities of the region. Prodyut Bordoloi in his speech highlighted the fact that the festival had brought the region, which had so long been secluded from the rest of the world, to the focus of attention.
This year�s edition of the great cultural extravaganza has been actively participated by more than 16 ethnic communities of the area. Though the flow of visitors in the early hours was moderate, it is expected to swell towards the evening to be treated with the warmth of the variety of ethnic dances and songs.
The show of an archival film on the Stilwell Road in the premises of Ledo Club on the evening of January 15 last to a packed distinguished audience was a befitting curtain-raiser to the event. The festival will continue till January 18.