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Nagaland

Extension of 10 days Hornbill Festival justified

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By EMN Updated: Sep 04, 2013 11:30 pm
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Our Correspondent
KOHIMA, SEPTEMBER 4

The state government’s recent announcement that the annual weeklong Hornbill Festival will be extended to a ten day event has received mixed reactions from the people.In a step to appease criticism, the state department of tourism, the main organizer of the Hornbill Festival today reasoned that the extension of the festival by three days was mulled by the government by popular demand.
Addressing media persons at the conference hall of the Directorate of Tourism, Kohima, commissioner & secretary for Tourism, Himato Zhimomi said the benefits of the Hornbill Festival reaches a vast section of the Naga society. Moreover, tourism being the most feasible industry in the state, it must be promoted by the government, he said. Maintaining that the estimated turnover from the last Hornbill Festival was over Rs.20 crores, Zhimomi said the extended festival this year is expected to bring in a larger turnover. He pointed out that the benefits of this festival reaches to entrepreneurs, hoteliers, restaurants, transport organizers, hospitality groups, participating organizations, shop keepers, guides, craftsmen, artisans, cultural groups etc. He also said that the government only invests a small amount of capital for expenditure to organize the festival and the three days extension of the festival will not exceed the previous year’s budget.
Emphasizing that the organization of the Hornbill Festival is not only for tourists, the official asserted that it has been a common platform in bringing about a sense of unity to all the tribes of Nagaland. Thus, he said, it preserves the rich and unique cultural heritage of the people while promoting their “intangible cultural capital”.
Zhimomi said the ten day Hornbill Festival 2013, which will be inaugurated by the President of India on December 1, coinciding with the 50th Nagaland Statehood Day, will witness an additional event, the Hornbill Food Festival.
Pointing that tourism rides on two ‘Cs’, Culture and Cuisine, he said the state has done exceptionally to promote its culture and arts but yet to do the same for Naga cuisine. He said that the state chief minister, Neiphiu Rio mooted the idea of the food festival, which will culminate with the Hornbill Chef Award where the best of un-recognized Naga chefs will be challenged to step forward to showcase their skills to the world.
The commissioner & secretary also highlighted the benefits through the promotion of Naga gourmet stating the event will provide a new organized platform for Naga farmers and spur organized retailing of Naga food products. He expressed optimism that the promotion will allow mushrooming of organized quality Naga food restaurants throughout the state and beyond, adding, the competition will also encourage documentation, refinement and proper presentation of the rich Naga food to the world.
The Hornbill Chef Award will recognize the cooking talents. The chef awardees will have the ability to pursue recognition in the booming food and beverages industry, he said. Zhimomi also disclosed that the state government will be setting up Naga Food Crafts Institute within a few years’ time to institutionalize the vast potential of Naga cuisine. Further, he said Hornbill Festival 2013 will promote shopping of Naga products and handicrafts, with the observation that the 10 days of Hornbill festival would give ample opportunities to both the entrepreneurs and the tourists.
The official has appealed for  support from all the people.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 04, 2013 11:30:50 pm