Badagas in the four corners of the Nilgiris district and elsewhere in the world have greeted with cheer the declaration of a local holiday for their main festival ‘Hethai Habba’.

The announcement was made by the Collector in-charge L.Nirmalraj here on Tuesday.

Pointing out that a large number of Badagas resided in the Nilgiris and they celebrated the annual Hethai Amman festival particularly at Beragani near Kotagiri with considerable enthusiasm,he said that a local holiday has been declared on Wednesday to enable the Badagas to participate in the festival. The declaration by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa follows a demand made by the local people.

In keeping with the order a holiday has been declared for Offices, schools, colleges and private firms. However it would not affect the conduct of examinations in the schools and colleges. Treasuries will function with minimum staff.

In lieu of the local holiday February 11 will be a working day.

Cutting across various barriers including political, regional, economic, age and gender Badagas have hailed the gesture of the Jayalalithaa government.

Speaking to The Hindu Representatives of various Badaga associations lauded the government for being sensitive to the sentiments of the community.

MLA (Udhagamandalam) M. Buddhichandran said, “the recognition of the community by the Chief Minister in such a manner has enhanced its prestige”.

The President, Young Badagas Association and former MLA (Udhagamandalam) T. Gundan said while welcoming the gesture that not only the community but also its festival was unique. “We are all one in expressing our gratitude”, he added.

Pointing out that in most of the offices and educational institutions, the presence of Badagas was sizeable, some of the Badaga youth said that for the first time they would be making a bee line to Beragani without worrying about their absence from their desks.

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