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Weeklong fest budget & plan

Siliguri, Jan. 14: The north Bengal development department will spend around Rs 1 crore for the Uttarbanga Utsav that will start from January 28, minister Gautam Deb said.

The weeklong fest that will end on February 3 will be inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the Kanchenjungha Stadium here.

“This year around Rs 1 crore will be spent on the Uttarbanga Utsav, which will be inaugurated by the chief minister. The two-hour-long inaugural programme will start at 4pm. Eminent personalities from the state would be conferred with the Banga Ratna award,” north Bengal development minister Deb said here today.

This is the second year that the fest is being organised.

“The chief minister will hand over Rs 1 lakh to each of the eminent personalities. We will also hand over Rs 50,000 each to 100 clubs. The clubs have been short-listed by the district magistrates of all six districts of the region. Study material would be distributed among 25 students aspiring for higher studies,” he added.

Cooch Behar and South Dinajpur districts are the focus of the fest.

“We are planning to end the event with the song Vande Mataram and the national anthem sung by 100 differently-abled children. The inaugural event will be conducted by actors Jishu Sengupta and June,” Deb said.

All six districts will hold events as part of the fest.

Mamata is expected to attend the Darjeeling leg on January 29. “This is the first time that the fest will be held in Darjeeling. Actor-director-singer Anjan Dutt and singer Jojo will perform there. The chief minister will inaugurate the Bijanbari Bridge and Lamahata tourism spot,” Deb said.

“Folk and drama groups from Bangladesh will perform in Cooch Behar and South Dinajpur. Bands Bhoomi, Dohar and Madal and singers Indranil Sen, Srikanta Acharya, Indrani Sen and Sriradha Banerjee will also take part,” he said.