Stalls displaying information boards and pamphlets on State government schemes are juxtaposed with small counters selling pickles, furniture, handicraft and even wigs. This mixed bag of an exhibition is the 10th edition of the annual Swadeshi mela, which opened on Thursday at Palace Grounds.

This Swadeshi mela, sponsored and co-organised by the State department of Commerce and industries and Centre for Bharatiya Marketing Development, is in its 10th year. It will be open to public till March 16. Inaugurating the event, Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa emphasised on the need to support small and medium-scale industry, particularly the ‘swadeshi’ kind. “Even the State budget I presented last week put forth several rural-centric plans and empowering them through employment schemes is top priority for us,” he said. Further, he pointed out that he had raised the working capital for handloom developers by Rs 10 crores.

A short cultural programme followed the inaugural ceremony. The Chief Minister and his contingent of security guards and personal assistants, paced down the winding corridors, stopping at times to look at a curious artefact or watch a live demonstration of ‘oil expeller technology’ (on display at the University of Agricultural Sciences stall).

Currently, many of the stalls are empty. But come weekend, and the entire space will be packed with a variety of traders, some coming from as far as Himachal Pradesh. While most stalls are from rural pockets of Karnataka, traders from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh also offer their special craft and textile works.

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