Agra fest postponement upsets tourism industry
Agra, Jan 1 (IANS) The Agra district administration plans to postpone the annual 10-day Taj Mahotsava cultural extravaganza from February to a future date due to the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections but local tourism industry players Sunday opposed the move.
At a function to release the tourism calender of Agra, Divisional Commissioner Amrit Abhijat Saturday indicated that the festival, held annually from Feb 18-27, would be postponed this year.
The district authorities said the postponement was considered because there would be additional work load and pressure on administrators and security personnel due to the January-February elections.
The administration's decision has not gone down well with tourism industry leaders. 'How can you postpone an event that has now found mention in the tourism calendars the world over,' Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.
'It is clear shirking of responsibility. The election commission has neither asked nor suggested that such events should be postponed,' he said.
Rakesh Chauhan, president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, said: 'The problem is that the officials will be busy in the election process, so they would not be able to enjoy the festival, which include programmes by Bollywood artistes.'
It's a 10-day event that was launched in 1993. If postponed this year, it will be the first time that Agra would not host it, he said.
'The Taj Mahotsava is held immediately after the Suraj Kund Mela (in Haryana) so that craftsmen can come over with their ware to Agra,' said tourist guide Ved Gautam.
Federation of Travel Agents of India president Rajiv Tiwari told IANS: 'They (officials)should have taken the industry into confidence and worked out some arrangement that would have ensured the continuity of the festival.'
Agra Tourist Guild Association president Rajiv Narain said: 'The show must go on. This in fact is the right opportunity to let private players step in and organise the festival.'