SARAS fest starts; artisans from across India in city

The 11-day SARAS festival, which is being organised by the District Rural Development Authority (DRDA), started in the city today The festival to bring the masses close to their roots and make livelihood of self-help groups will cost around Rs 70 lakh. While Rs 20 lakh has been given by the Central Government, the rest will be raised by DRDA through its own resources, said ADC(D) Pardeep Aggarwal.

Manpreet Ayali, DRDA Chairman and newly elected MLA of Dakha, was the chief guest. "We have charged nominal fees from the exhibitors and Rs 8 8 lakh has been taken from the company that put up swings for kids in this festival. We expect to raise around Rs 10 lakh through the entry fee only," said Ayali.

Rs 10 is the entry fee in this festival. Singer Daljit's night was organised this evening for which tickets cost Rs 100 and Rs 50. Around 1,000 tickets were sold off for this night and the administration did not want more rush, said Aggarwal.

Further, in the coming days, a Mamta Joshi night and cultural programmes too would be organised apart from the sale of products. DRDA aims to raise the balance Rs 50 lakh through this mela and will be paying the artists for the same amount.

SARAS melas are the Central Government's initiative to help self-help groups. A total of 201 self-help groups from across the country have come out, of which 60 per cent were men's groups and the rest women.

Ashok Chaudhary has come from UP with wooden toys for children. Chaudhary stated that he travels in more than 15 such exhibitions throughout the country, as per the intimation of Government Department and prepares his toys in UP to get ready for such exhibitions. Chaudhary stated that he is earning well through these exhibitions.

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