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When Almora hogged limelight before who’s who of India

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With an aim to fascinate the world at large to take a note of the significance of Almora in terms of its treasure trove of art, culture and unexplored magnificence in the Himalyan region, a two-day Almora Festival was held recently.

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Organised by the Almora District Administration in association with Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd., it was a spectacular extravaganza to promote and underline the local artisans, handicraft, agricultural products while highlighting various possibilities in the region’s tourism landscape as well.

Inaugurated by J Goburdhan, High Commissioner, Mauritius High Commission, New Delhi, the Day-1 of the Almora Festival was devoted to Environment Summit, Almora.

One of the prominent features of the festival was Buyers-Sellers Meet, sponsored by the State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited (SIDCUL).

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Held for the first time in Uttarakhand’s Almora region, the Buyers-Sellers Meet served as a vital platform where buyers from different parts of the country participated and learnt about various latent areas to explore business or marketing opportunities and ink deals to encash the treasure of Almora from all dimensions.

Understanding the scope of being a major draw for distinguished participants as well the people arriving from far and wide, the local administration had set up the Promoting Artefacts, Handicrafts and Handlooms of Almora (PAHAL)(dicpahaluk.org) aimed to promote local artisans through Buyers-Sellers Meet.

Speaking on the occasion, Nikunja K Sundaray, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, presented the Narendra Modi Government’s vision and policies being routine framed for environmental protection while benefitting all regions in various dimensions.

Offering a glimpse of different aspects of Almora, key deliberations were made by distinguished participants of the likes of Nitin Bhadauria, District Magistrate, Almora; Mayur Dixit, Chief Development Officer, Almora.  Dr R S Rawal, Director, GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development, presented the overview of their different aspects of  environment and rejuvenation of Kosi River.

Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Research Fellow, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) made an in-depth presentation on climate change.

Ekta Bhaskar, Expert Lead CSR (Commercial Projects), Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India gave a presentation on water resources, river development and river rejuvenation and importance of collaborations.

Sonam Chopel Bhutia, Deputy Commissioner, Gangtok Municipal Corporation; Rashmi Bajaj, State Head, UNDP, Dehradun;  Dr Chetna Anand, Scientist, Department of Environment, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and Professor Arup Pattanaik, Director, ICAR VPKAS- Vivekananda Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan impressed with their participation in a panel discussion on best practices of sustainable environment for maintaining ecosystem.

The main attraction of this summit was Pahal — a unique concept where buyers arrived to participate in Almora from different parts of the country and gave a boost to the local artisans.

Overall, 30 stalls were put up for public viewing in the Buyers-Sellers Meet which benefited the local artisans in a big way.

During the summit, Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) worth more than Rs 2.5 crore were signed with the district administration.

An MoU worth Rs 1 crore was signed with the Mauritius Government to promote the local talent. Under the agreement, the handloom and handicrafts of Almora will be showcased at Mauritius also.

In another MoU signed with the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED), Rs 20 lakh will be invested to support Almora artisans.

The District Administration also signed an MoU for organic and handloom products with a private company whereby the company will invest Rs 1 crore.

In other MoUs signed with different partners, more than Rs 1 lakh will be invested in Pahal.

Local artisans also had a good time, making a sale of various local products worth Rs 25,000 as well.

The Day-II of the event was dedicated to the Buyers-Sellers meet Pahal during which Dr Deepak Murari, General Manager, District Industry Center, Almora gave a video presentation on Pahal.

A product catalogue of the Pahal was also launched at the event.

In addition to Murari, Arup Datta, CEO, Khadder,  Kunal Ganeriwala, Director, Makhanlal Ganeriwala & Co. Ltd, Manmohan Mainali, Nodal Officer, Government e-Marketing, Government of Uttarakhand also presented their vision for promoting local talent.

Mukti Dutta, Designer, Almora; Pooja Ratnakar, Owner, Kadam Haat; Himanshu Agarwal, Owner, National Handloom Industries; Ramesh Ramanadhan, Owner, R S Krafts; Vivek Sharma, Manager-Buyer Help Desk, Trade India and Seema Vashisht, Owner, Ekatrit India Handicraft Pvt Ltd, Lovely Baruah, Owner, Fitbird participated in a panel discussion on “Marketing opportunities for brand Almora: Growth of MSME sector: Challenges and opportunities”.

The other attractions of the event included a Kumaoni Dance performance by schoolchildren from Almora.

The two-day event saw a huge congregation of bureaucrats, industries and local people.

It was a unique opportunity whereby people from across the country were able to participate in an event where business opportunities were created.

For Almora, the event gave an immense fillip to the local artisans, as it succeeded in providing an top-class platform which also drew international attention through its top profile participants.

The event has evoked a wave of optimism in the District Administration in generating new avenues of growth and prosperity for residents and local industry. They hope to create a system and mechanism that will allow them to ensure work for a longer period of time. The operations of Pahal will eventually be transferred to the local artisans who are hoped to view it as their own initiative for branding of their products.

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