Elephant fest gets under way at Kaziranga

 KAZIRANGA (DERGAON), Feb 10 : 7th Kaziranga Elephant Festival got under way with a four-day long programme at Kaziranga National Park (KNP) from today.

Kaliabor MP Deep Gogoi formaly inaugurated the SHG mela at Kahara this afternoon. More than 150 SHGs participated in the mela.

Bokakhat MLA Jiten Gogoi opened the traditional food mela.

In the maiden marathan race competition Abdul Barek (NF Railway, Guwahati) was declared first while Rudreswar Deka (Darrang) and Someshuddin Ahmed (Kamrup) were declared second and the third respectively.

A total of 29 persons participated in the marathan from Bokakhat to Kahara (22 km) where 22 completed the distance. The event is organised under the joint aegis of Forest, Environment and Tourism Department, Government of Assam in association with Golaghat District Administration and the public with a budget of Rs 15 lakhs.

The attractive elephant procession from Kahara Chariali to Mihimukh where 60 elephants along with several cultural troups will to take part will be flagged off by Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain at 8 am tomorrow.

After that the festival will be ceremonially opened by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at 10 am at Mihimukh festival ground where he will cut a specially designed pera (a sweet) weighing 100 kg and100 pigeons will fly in the air.

The souvenir Airawat published on the occasion will also be released in the programme. After that several games and other programmes with elephants will be held on the occasion.

Elephant specialist, Parbati Barua will conduct several programmes with elephants mahoot every evening during the festival.

This time the SHG mela and others games and sports will also be held at Bagari and Agaratali range for first time.

A seminar on 'Man and Elephant Conflict and Problem of Poachers' will be held at Kahara convention centre where Parbati Baruah will take part on February 11. Several other discussions will also be held on Man-elephant conflict.