Manali Winter Carnival Rakes Up A Controversy

Manali: The five-day-long winter carnival, starting from 2 January, has come in for a controversy as most stakeholders here have accused the administration of coercing them to forcefully contribute for the upcoming event.

After holding an emergency meeting on Wednesday, hotel owners, taxi union, luxury coach owners, beopar mandal, auto union and others have expressed their resentment about it. In a joint statement they state the Carnival organizing committee had constituted sub-committees without taking them in confidence.

“It’s strange that the administration is putting pressure on us to financially contribute for the upcoming event,” they state.

File Photo: Manali Winter Carnival 2015

A spokesmen for stakeholders said that they would contribute for the event but organizers should ensure their involvement for the Winter Carnival. With the purpose of organizing the carnival was to promote tourism in Manali, the spokesman disclosed, “the administration had collected about Rs 40 lakh from vehicles going to Rohtang pass under the pretext of holding the Winter Carnival that the administration should now spend.”

He claimed that the festival was a national event for which funds should be provided by state government.

Hem Raj Bairwa, Manali sub-divisional magistrate and vice-chairman of Winter Carnival Organizing Committee said, “We are inviting all organizations and unions for meetings about holding of the carnival and want to ensure participation of maximum local people.”

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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