Celebrations begin in Manikkal, his native village

Catapulted to Fort Saint George in Chennai from Manikkal, a small Badaga village in the Nilgiris, M.Budhichandran, the new Tourism Minister of Tamil Nadu is in for a memorable welcome when he returns to the Nilgiris for the first time after assuming office.

The celebrations have already begun, particularly in his native village, and arrangements are apace for felicitations.

Speaking toThe Hindu here on Tuesday, the President, Federation of Badaga Associations, A.Bobblie, said that Mr.Budhichandran getting a berth in the State cabinet has made the Badagas in the Nilgiris and various parts of the country proud.

Expressing the gratitude of the Federation to Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa for bestowing such an honour on a member of the Badaga community, he said that a function would be organized here soon to felicitate the Minister.

Concern

Describing Ms.Jayalalithaa's gesture as a reflection of her concern for the Nilgiris, the Secretary, Nilgiri Hotels and Restaurants Association (NHRA), N.Chandrashekar, expressed the hope that the Minister will live up to the expectations of all sections of the society in general and the hospitality and travel sectors in particular.

Observers pointed out that Mr.Budhichandran has created history of sorts.

Though two persons from the Nilgiris A.Miller (AIADMK) and K.Ramachandran (DMK) had made it to the State cabinet, both had been elected in the Gudalur constituency.

It is the first time that a person representing the prestigious Udhagamandalam constituency has become a Minister.

Pointing out that by displaying a little bit of dynamism a great deal can be achieved in the sector, they said that the potential for taking tourism to great heights in this popular holiday destination is enormous.

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