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Rongali Bihu celebrations get under way in Assam, Meghalaya

Communities must unite to keep tradition alive: Sonowal Communities must unite to keep tradition alive: Sonowal Communities must unite to keep tradition alive: Sonowal

GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has called upon communities across the state to unite and keep the customs and traditions of the greater Assamese society alive.

“On this occasion of Rongali Bihu I urge all communities to unite, maintain the spirit of friendship and brotherhood and keep our rich legacy and traditions alive, which is the message this festival conveys,” Sonowal said after unfurling the flag of the 64-year-old Paschim Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan here on the opening day of the Rongali Bihu celebrations on Saturday.

The chief minister underlined the significance imparting value education to the upcoming generation to keep them motivated for upholding tradition and playing a key role in society.

Sonowal also urged everyone to work hard for a prosperous state. “I urge everyone, from the farmer to the labourer, to take a pledge to make the state even stronger,” he said.

He also lauded the office bearers of the Paschim Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan for celebrating the festival over six decades now.

Meanwhile, Goru Bihu was celebrated across the state with people taking their cattle to the ponds and rivers for the customary bath and rituals.

Over 60 Bihu pandals in Guwahati and some hundreds across Assam are celebrating Rongali Bihu with a packed schedule from morning till late night culminating with cultural programmes and performances by artistes.

Like in the earlier years, the All Guwahati Students’ Union (AGSU) organised Mukoli Bihu (Bihu performed in open space) at Judges Field here on Saturday. Bihu husori, ethic dance et all were performed on the occasion.

Noted academician Nagen Saikia unfurled the flag. Various distinguished personalities who have contributed to the state in diverse fields were felicitated on the occasion.

Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, like in the previous years, was present at the 66-year-old Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan in Latasil to witness Mukoli Bihu in the morning.

The weather gods too were kind enough as the sun kept shining throughout this morning here to facilitate performances in open air.

The Brihattar Rukmini Nagar Rongali Bihu Sanmilan, meanwhile, will felicitate 21 former and current Bihu Samragyi dancers (best Bihu dance performer in an individual contest) from across the state on Sunday.

Bihu celebrations began in Meghalaya as well with the Shillong Central Rongali Bihu Celebration Committee at Bishnupur and the Meghalaya Rongali Bihu Celebration Committee at Stoneyland (Dhanketi), kicking off the three-day celebration with games for children and cultural programmes in the evening.


Big budget Bihu

The Bihu committees here have raised the budget bar as well with many spending between Rs 16lakh and Rs 25 lakh over the next three to five days.

The Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan at Latasil have kept a Rs 25 lakh budget while Pub Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani, another committee which has been organizing Bihu for close to six decades now, is spending about Rs 18lakh.

Noonmati Bihu Sanmilani, which kicked off the festivities from Saturday, has an estimated budget of Rs 25 lakh, which is higher than last year.

Paschim Guwahati Bihu Sanmilan too is not far behind with an estimated Rs 16lakh as its budget.

Security beefed up

Strict regulations have been issued to all Bihu organisers to rein in mischief mongers during the celebrations.

Guwahati police has prohibited sale and consumption of alcohol/narcotic substance in the Bihu pandals. The committees have been directed to install CCTV cameras and deploy adequate volunteers.

All police stations have been asked to put in place security measures and coordinate with Bihu organising committees.


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