Udhampur: The 18th annual Maha Shivratri-cum-Rural awareness Mela, organized today here at Khoon village of Tehsil Majalta (Udhampur), witnessed participation of thousands of people with huge congregation assembling inside the spiritual ambience of Khooneshwar Aap Shambu Temple.
Chief Planning Officer Udhampur, Rajeev Bhushan, was the chief guest, who formally inaugurated the awareness mela, while Project Officer ICDS, Attar Chand, was the guest of honour on the occasion.
The religious Gramin-Kisan Mela is organized by Destitute and Handicapped Welfare Association (DAHWA), in collaboration with District Administration Udhampur annually on the eve of Mahshivratri. The devotees in thousands paid obeisance at the historic ancient temple to seek blessings of Lord Shiva.
Speaking on the occasion, the CPO appreciated DAHWA Gramin Mela Committee for organizing this pro-people event for the last over 18 years. He said such events help in generating awareness and seeking involvement of village community in various initiatives designed by the government for their welfare
He congratulated the people of the area for getting such a great opportunity to know the government schemes meant for their socio-economic emancipation. He said such melas symbolize unity in diversity and provides a common platform for the people to share culture and tradition, which further help in strengthening the bond of brotherhood and communal harmony.
While extending greetings the people on the auspicious day, the CPO hoped that the festival would be celebrated with fervour and gaiety.
Lauding the enthusiasm among the participants at the annual feature, Chairman of DAHWA and founder of Mela, Surat Singh Sumbria, said the holding of Mela aims at generating awareness among the rural masses about the governmental schemes meant for their socio-economic emancipation. Sumbria expressed gratitude to Deputy Commissioner Udhampur and all the departments for extending cooperation in making this festival a grand success. He urged upon the government to observe this annual Maha Shivratri festival officially in view of its popularity and importance for the area. He said that it will go a long way in satiating the religious aspirations of the devotees, as infrastructural development will give rise to the influx of pilgrim tourists giving a big fillip to economic activity in the area.
District administration, Udhampur had made elaborate arrangements for smooth conduct of the Mela like uninterrupted power, safe drinking water, sanitation, medicare and security besides various departments like Agriculture, Horticulture, Social Welfare Department, Health, Sheep Husbandry, Apiculture, Handicraft, Handloom and Animal Husbandry established their departmental stalls to educate the rural masses especially farmers about various schemes being launched to raise their living standards.
The officers elaborately explained development programmes and schemes of their respective departments during the event.
The CPO inspected the stalls installed by various departments, displaying their schemes and products for general awareness.
On the occasion, a scintillating cultural programme, featuring folk music, folk dances and Dogri songs, was presented by the artists of Information Department besides local artists based on Shiv Parvati theme Bhajans devoted to Lord Shiva.
Later, the chief guest distributed mamta kits among the beneficiaries on the occasion.
Among others, Chief Agriculture Officer, Subash Sharma and other senior officers of different departments besides Sarpanchs, Panchs, prominent citizens and a large number of devotees were also present on the occasion.
Sarpanch Romesh Chander, Ved Prakash Sharma, Main Sarpanch Namrata Bali, Kewal Padha, Ex Captain Gopal Singh, Jagdev Singh and Swadesh Master were present on the occasion.