East Himalaya

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mango Festival, ACT Rural Tourism Bazaar

                        The picture has been contributed by email: deo@deoranjan.com
2nd Gitanjali Mango Festival (10th, 11th & 12th June, 2011)
Venue: Utsav Complex, Uttorayon, Siliguri.

Dear friends in Rural Tourism,
The Rural Tourism Bazaar 2011 being coordinated by ACT (Association for Conservation and Tourism) an organization working on community based conservation and tourism, and being organized by Help Tourism, a Department of Tourism, Government India recognized organization, and also a resource for rural tourism movement in India since 1991, is being organized for the first time in India.
The venue has been chosen at Siliguri, recognizing the importance of this Himalayan foothill city as the tourism hub for India’s Northeast and Southeast Asia. Siliguri is also one of the fastest growing cities in India, generating a good number of tourists and a strong tourism industry for the region of East and Northeast India, including the adjoining countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The city has been the venue of East Himalaya Expo, Northeast Tourism Conclave and several other International Events of Trade and Tourism importance.
The Rural Tourism Bazaar would consist of exhibition stalls on rural tourism products, including rural accommodation, food and activities for visitors, display and sale of handicrafts and handlooms, consultants on appropriate rural technologies and documentaries on rural tourism and conservation. This will be an opportunity to create awareness about rural tourism products, understanding amongst each other to create a strong marketing platform and above all build confidence for each other through discussing opportunities.
The Rural Tourism Bazaar will be an extension of the popular Gitanjali Mango Festival, the details of which is enclosed herewith for understanding. This first of its kind initiative is an attempt of getting together of ‘Rural Tourism Initiatives’ which will be taken to different parts of India in the months to come to maximize awareness and promotion of the Rural Tourism Movement.
As practitioners and promoters of Rural Tourism Initiatives, please come and join this Bazaar.

                                                                       Raj Basu (Coordinator)
                                                                       Handfone: 9733000444

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2nd Gitanjali Mango Festival Exhibitors' Opportunities

There will be several banner display opportunities in the whole festival venue. There will be 02 sizes of banners which will be accepted:
6ft X 3ft and 10ft X 3ft
The first size will attract a patronization of Rs.1000 each banner and the 2nd size Rs.1500 each banner. The display in the front entry areas and cultural program areas for every banner would be Rs.2000 each. Every banner will need to display the Mango Festival main logo and for flex banner Reproman at Church Road (Gautam 9832092422) can be contacted or the design can be taken on pen drive from the Festival coordinators.
Also for stalls at the Rural Tourism Baazar, 10ft X 10ft stalls of 02 types
Board finish with ply wood Rs.20,000 for each stall
Soft finish with cloth & bamboo Rs.10,000 for each stall

This festival is a non-profit effort and is an initiative to develop and revive a dynamic culture in the youths of the area, to create a scope for meaningful livelihood in tourism and horticulture, as well as highlight the East Himalaya region, mainly the Rural Tourism Projects, which has brought new hope for sustainable development. The festival will be impossible without the patronization of individuals and organizations and all events (cultural + interactive + creative) and exhibitions by villagers at the RTB will be possible only with all the patronization.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The 15th of May, 2011

I was back to Delhi from Singapore and heading for Siliguri. It was too early for fresh newspapers to pour in, the 14th newspapers read all about the women power that was all set to take upon India with Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalitha making clean sweep against their tough rivals, and ofcourse Sonia Gandhi who made decisions for this largest democracy was already rooted at the centre.
Back from Singapore some of the things are still ticking my mind. One was the name Asam, I saw it on the top of some eating counters as menu, ‘Asam Fish Head Curry’, also in the ready food packet at the stores as ‘Asam Curry’. I asked the people and they told me that it is the name of a sour curry and then a Malaysian chef confirmed that it is the name for ‘Tamarind or Tentul’. All our books said that the name of the state of Assam has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘A-Sama’, the uneven land, but having its people’s roots back to the Malayan peninsula, the Tai-Ahoms and the use of ‘tenga’ in food has all probability that the name comes from Asam.
The other concern was the exposure of the Singapore youths to a complete man made world. During my trip, I had to speak to hundreds of youth students, who would be all set to professional livelihood in a year or two. Singapore being a globally connected country, it is expected that the country’s strength lies in its global knowledge and experience, especially when most of the people are rooted with their Chinese and Indian origin. The children being brought up in a super urban atmosphere are almost isolated in their own development and hence need a balance by exposing them to more rooted cultural and natural resources. Also the present development pattern has reduced the aggressive expression of the youths through art, culture and literature, and I would suggest that some of the globally renowned persons in these fields be made to settle in Singapore for atleast 05 years to initiate such movements.    
A lot of ‘inner development’ of several countries probably lies in global capacity and understanding of their youths as individuals and teams. I would love to see the ‘Board Walk’ to Sentosa as a happening place in the evenings with small groups of youths sharing their talents through performing art, dance, songs, music, drama etc in the beautiful spacious pathway instead of the present almost empty ‘Bored Walk’. The most interesting part is the visitor friendly signage at places like the Botanical Garden and the other places of interest. Even the small restored heritage temples by the busy street is a sign of sincere work which we often miss in our subcontinent.

As I reached home later, I was engrossed more in who would become the Forest and Tourism Ministers of the state of Bengal, as the success here would mean the initiation of continuity of natural and tourism livelihood landscape to the complete Northeastern region and beyond borders. A long awaited implementable policy for ecotourism to make it work for connecting livelihood of the youth force to rooted natural and cultural resources, to create a model for the world to be proud of.
The interesting topic back home was the talk of every town, again an hike of Rs.5 on petrol fuel prices, making it 15% add-on in the last 11 months, a record for India. The hike in fuel prices in India means the rise in prices of all day to day products. In this age of transport dependent products for daily use, the subsidy in transport fuel is a must to keep the prices in control.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Singapore, Barrackpore, Bishnupur, Bolpur, Jadavpur...

As I reached Singapore this Monday, the election fever was still on. I went from Universities to Colleges here to spread awareness about the Singapore-East Himalaya Program and invite friends to the Mango Festival. Everywhere, the talk was about how the PAP on getting 81 seats of the 87 total, against 85 in 2006 was worried and wanted to reach out more to the people.I was still waiting for the 13th results.

From about 12:52 at noon today, messages started flowing in 'TMC absolute majority', 'Ma, Mati, Manusher Jai' etc. In between the meetings and talks I could just go through. I shared the news with my Singapore friends and they all said that it is expected that the new Government will bring new hopes in the field of tourism and conservation helping to make the state of West Bengal a model for the world to follow and support.