BHUBANESWAR: Suravi, the State-level children’s festival, kicked off on Monday with a cycle rally, marking the beginning of the threeday programme organised by School and Mass Education Department. While the cycle rally was flagged off by School and Mass Education Minister Devi Prasad Mishra, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the festival in the evening. Speaking on the occasion, the CM urged students to not just focus on education, but also on extra curricular activities for their overall development.
He said the State Government is taking several measures to increase student enrolment, besides developing the school education system and children should benefit from all such initiatives. Mishra said School and Mass Education Department has been successful in bringing down the drop-out rate. As a run up to the event, around one lakh students from across the State had participated in 13 competitions at block and district levels. The winners from these competitions were brought to the main event being held at Unit IX Government Boys High School here. The school ground has been converted into a fair with lights and creative compound for each workshop.
School and Mass Education Department Commissioner-cum- Secretary Ranjana Chopra said, ‘’The major focus of our endeavour is to minimise the drop-out rate by making education exciting and involving students in the entire process. Anjali Fest Begins The 15th edition of Anjali Children’s Festival took off on a colourful note on Monday amid much fanfare. Modelled on the lines of the Goa Carnival, around 500 children - both abled and differently- abled took out a procession donning colourful costumes, crowns and masks as the sound of trumpets and drumbeats echoed in the background.
A number of traditional artistes took part in the parade from across the State. Children with painted faces, dazzling dresses and masks carried huge banners of the festival as they marched from Master Canteen to Adivasi Ground, the venue for the five-day festival. Children from other States also took part in their traditional attire. Later in the evening, Anjali camp was inaugurated by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at Adivasi Ground. Sruti Mohapatra, chief coordinator of Anjali, said the aim of the festival is to eliminate differences between the differentlyabled children and other kids.
‘’The carnival is specially organised for the purpose. Kids have their faces coloured and wear masks so that people cannot distinguish between a disabled and normal child. This will help people open up their mind to all children.’’ This year, 600 children from 18 States besides the neighbouring Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan are participating in Anjali camps. This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Childhood’.