Kerala School Kalolsavam 2023: Festival will be showcased to a larger audience outside State, says Riyas

Minister for Tourism P.A. Mohamed Riyas says it was a huge challenge to ensure people’s participation in the festival after the pandemic-induced gap of three years

January 06, 2023 07:06 pm | Updated January 08, 2023 05:37 pm IST

Minister for Public Works and Tourism P.A. Mohamed Riyas

Minister for Public Works and Tourism P.A. Mohamed Riyas

For Public Works and Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas, the ongoing 61st Kerala School Kalolsavam, the State School Arts Festival, in Kozhikode posed both challenges and opportunities. As the chairperson of the organising committee, he spoke to The Hindu on how they were dealt with.

Also read |Kerala School Kalolsavam 2023: A cultural extravaganza that had something to offer for all segments

What were the major challenges before the State government and the organising committee when the arts festival was scheduled to be held in Kozhikode?

We are holding the event after the pandemic-induced gap of three years. Ensuring people’s participation was a major challenge. If people don’t turn up, it could get reduced to a festival of teachers and officials. Another issue was to guarantee that the competitions started and ended on time. We have a history of some of them running till early morning.

How did you address them?

From day one, both of us, myself and V. Sivankutty, General Education Minister, decided to take the lead in all aspects of the festival. From the inauguration of the organising committee office to holding of meetings of sub-committees on various topics, we tried to stick to the schedule. Mr. Sivankutty took care of Education department-related issues, and I dealt with the organisational aspects.

The results are there for all of us to see. A majority of the competitions started and ended on time. And, we are seeing how people are turning up in large numbers. Around 20,000 people are being served food every day at the pavilion set up at Malabar Christian College. Arrangements were made to make sure that people do not face any trouble while standing in queue there. We saw to it that the place for hand washing is hygienic. Kalolsavavandis (specially designated vehicles) were arranged to transport participants, teachers, and officials from one place to another. Many autorickshaw drivers offered free service. Because of all these, there have been very few complaints this time.

Also read |Asia’s yes, but is Kerala School Kalolsavam world’s biggest arts festival of school children?

Since you are also in charge of the Tourism department, are there any plans to highlight the tourism potential of the festival?

The illumination of Mananchira Square in the city was part of one such plan. Though the Tourism department installed the lights to welcome the New Year, we decided to continue it till the festival is over. The winners were taken to Beypore, to the house of writer Vaikom Mohammed Basheer. A caravan ride was organised too. We are also taking steps to document the festival to showcase it to a larger audience outside the State. We need to attract more foreign tourists to the event. The festival will be marketed abroad well.

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