MIAO (ARUNACHAL PRADESH), Feb 5 � The sixth Namdapha Eco-Cultural Festival (NECF) commenced here today with Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu sounding the traditional gong to mark the beginning of the three day festivities. Twenty one ethnic tribes of the state, resident of the Changlang and Tirap districts, are participating.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that Arunachal Pradesh, home to 88 major tribes and 110 sub tribes, is a socially colourful state, and that each of these communities have their own social customs and celebrations. He said: �Local cultural festivals are necessary for the preservation of ethnic customs, though we live in a global society, and we are exposed to Western and other influences.�
He said the Centre is serious about overall economic development of the state, and mentioned the 157 km long Miao-Vijainagar road, to be taken up for development. This road will open up the Vijainagar area to the rest of the country upon completion.
The festival itself is a mix of food, culture and merrymaking, as a whole. On the agenda are cultural events, beauty pageants and traditional competitions. The winners of the beauty pageant and ethnic fashion show would be crowned Prince Namdapha and Miss Namdapha.
Earlier, the State Rural Works Minister, Kalikho Pul said at the inaugural session that Arunachal is poised for growth and development, and urged the people to cooperate with the government in achieving this goal.
The inaugural ceremony today was marked by the participation of cultural troupes from 23 communities, including an Assamese Bihu troupe. Each of these contingents presented their cultural presentation amidst the cheer of a packed audience. Chief Minister Khandu, impressed by the quality of the presentations, announced cash incentives of Rs 50,000 each to three of the contingents.