Hampi Utsav, a three-day mega cultural festival of dance, music and drama, got off to a colourful start at Hampi. Though Chief Minister Siddaramaiah landed at 4.50 p.m. and was ready to reach the venue to inaugurate the cultural festival, the function began behind schedule by two-and-a-half hours due to lack of audience.
Another reason for the lack of audience was the restriction on the movement of vehicles, entry into the VIP gallery only with passes and the lukewarm response to the introduction of Platinum and Gold cards priced Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 2,000, respectively.
All vehicles, without passes, were regulated near Kaddirampur and people had to board buses to reach the venue.
The delayed inauguration put off the cultural programmes at the three more stages by a few hours.
The lack of audience in the VIP, platinum and gold card galleries prompted the Chief Minister to instruct Minister of State for Labour and district in-chargeP.T. Parmeshwar Naik to withdraw the restrictions and permit the audience to enter from all gates. Mr. Naik Parmeshwar promptly and without any delay passed on the instructions to the police.
Prior to the inauguration, a colourful “shobha yatre” was taken out.
Mr. Siddaramaiah offered flowers to Goddess Bhuvaneshwari and lit the traditional lamp to declare open the cultural festival. Even as Mr. Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries offered flowers to the goddess, a remote-controlled toy helicopter hovered over the stage performing “pushpavristi” (hurling flowers from top).
Ministers R.V. Deshpande and Umashree, Hindustani vocalist Shubha Mudgal, legislators Anil Lad and Mrutyunjaya Jinaga, Bellary Zilla Panchayat president Shoba Bendigeri and the former Minister Allum Veerbhadrappa were present.