Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurates Tourism Department’s State-wide celebrations

The Onam celebrations began in the State on Saturday with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy officially inaugurating the festivities at the Central Stadium here. The Chief Minister exhorted the people to wholeheartedly participate in the festivities arranged by the Tourism Department across the State.

The grand inaugural was attended by a galaxy of personalities from the political and film fields. The government had made elaborate arrangements to celebrate the festival and its success depended on the participation of people, he said.

This year’s celebrations, he said, assumed significance as it was for the first time that the celebrations were held after Malayalam was bestowed with the classical language status. Both the language and Onam had a unifying effect on the people of the State. At the function, Mr. Chandy honoured actors Sridevi Kapoor and Prithviraj Sukumaran for their contribution to cinema.

Speaker G. Karthikeyan, in his Onam message, said the celebrations reminded people of the ideals set by Mahabali and the principles left behind by the great ruler. Mr. Karthikeyan stressed the need to carry forward the principles of good governance and politics propagated by Mahabali.

Artistes honoured

He also handed over a memento and Rs.10,000 as cash award to veteran Kathakali artiste Madavoor Vasudevan Nair and Vilpattu artiste Thalayil Kesevan Nair.

In his address, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor said when other festivals had a little bit of religious connotation attached to them, Onam was one festival that was celebrated irrespective of religion, caste and creed. Actor Sridevi in her address recalled her stint with Malayalam films and paid rich tributes to the industry. She said that the Malayalam industry was always ahead of time.

Giving away Onam greetings, Mr. Prithviraj said the true spirit of Onam was that it was celebrated across the State regardless of religious and caste affiliations.

Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar; Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar; Deputy Speaker N. Sakthan; Palode Ravi and M.A Wahid, MLAs; and district panchayat president Ansajitha Ressal were present.

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