Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fazilka festival begins, celebrations special this year- Hindustan Times

Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar, Hindustan Times, 7th April 2012- Bathinda Edition

FEROZEPUR: The sixth Fazilka Heritage Festival, annual art, food, and cultural extravaganza of the region, opened on Thursday night.

The Graduates Welfare Association of Fazilka ( GWAF) and local administration are partners in the venture. The festival will promote Fazilka's culture and heritage worldwide and the Punjabi language in the border region.

" Another mission behind the event is to position the city of Fazilka as a brand," said Navdeep Asija, general secretary of the GWAF. The branding will support the local handicrafts, workmanship, sweet makers, which will create jobs through tourism in the region.

The focus this year is on rural tourism. Anand Utsav last year had received backing from the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board ( PHTPB). " Again, the board is out in support," said Bhupinder Singh, patron of the GWAF. " Already, the GWAF works with the Punjab tourism department as adviser for implementing the ' ecocab- dial a rickshaw' concept in various cities."

The festival highlights this year will be nights dedicated to the youth, women, and armed forces. " At Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Park, Fazilka, we have divided 5 acres into art, food and cultural zones," said Umesh Kukkar, president of the GWAF. In the food zone, visitors can savour the taste of the border region. The clock tower city centre has been decorated and music will play there continuously during the celebrations.

The heritage festival already has helped Fazilka create country's first car- free zone. Last year, Ecocab- Nano was launched at this event only. The food street concept from Fazilka was implemented in state capital Chandigarh. Fazilka's concept of " social infrastructure building through festivals" is being included in the curriculum of the department of transport, and the University of Technology, Vienna, in Austria.

It's the first heritage festival after Fazilka attained its district status. " The district administration will go all out to make it a success," said deputy commissioner Basant Garg.

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