Doubling of the prize money for winners

The 53rd State School Art Festival began here on Monday afternoon with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy lighting a lamp in the presence of a host of people’s representatives and officials. The massive crowd which witnessed the inaugural function exulted when the Chief Minister announced the doubling of the prize money for the winners of the festival.

Mr. Chandy’s largesse came in response to a request by Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb, who presided over the function, to increase the prize money for the winners. The Chief Minister said the first prize winner would get Rs.2,000, the second prize winner Rs.1,600, and the third prize winner Rs.1,200, an increase of 100 per cent. He said the order would be ready before the festival ends on Sunday.

However, Mr. Chandy did not make any commitment to another request by Mr. Rabb to increase grace marks for the participants. ‘‘Sorry, I can’t give you an offer on it. It depends on many factors. We will examine the demand and arrive at a suitable decision,’’ the Chief Minister said.

He said that several art forms of Kerala should thank the school festival for their survival. He congratulated the children, reminding them of the fact that more than winning, participation was the most important thing.

Honoured

Minister for Industries P.K. Kunhalikutty delivered the keynote address. Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed was the chief guest. Minister for Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar gave away an award to P. Satheesh Kumar, who designed the festival logo.

Mr. Rabb gave away the awards to poster design competition winners. When C.K. Rashida won the award for poster design, P.K. Arshad won for online poster design.

E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, gave away an award to Kanesh Poonoor, who penned the welcome song of the festival. K.V. Abootty, who composed music for the welcome song, accepted the memento from Mr. Ahamed.

Celebrity guest

Cine actor Reema Kallingal, who was the celebrity guest at the inaugural, said that it was unfortunate that she had studied in a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) school. But she said she had gained much from the CBSE education.

The others who donned the front row were Indian Union Muslim League district president Syed Sadikali Shihab Thangal, M.P. Abdussamad Samadani, MP, district panchayat president Suhara Mampad, Malabar Special Police Commandant U. Sharafali, organising committee chairman P. Ubaidulla, MLA, District Congress Committee president E. Mohammed Kunhi, Director of Public Instruction A. Shajahan, and Department of General Education Secretary T. Elangovan.

In the second row were MLAs M. Ummer, K.N.A. Khader, C. Mammootty, K.T. Jaleel, Abdurahman Randathani, T.A. Ahamed Kabeer, Mohammedunni Haji, N. Shamsuddin, P. Sreeramakrishnan, District Collector M.C. Mohandas, and district panchayat vice-president P.K. Kunhu.

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