The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Digha lines up beach festival

Digha, Dec. 1: Come new year, and Digha will come alive with its first beach festival. Though late into the sea, sun n’ sand fiesta scene, Digha promises to be no less fun.

Organised by the Digha Hoteliers’ Association (DHA), the festival, likely to feature a beauty contest for tourists, will play itself out on a 1-km stretch of beach in front of the irrigation department’s bungalow in Old Digha from January 8 to 12.

DHA chairman Pranab Kar said tourism minister Dinesh Dakua will inaugurate the festival. Marking the beginning will be a car rally from Calcutta to Digha on January 8.

He said tourists will receive special discounts at hotels during the period. “Ninety hotels of Digha have agreed to offer discounts. However, due to shortage of time, the New Digha hotels could not be included this time,” Kar said. There will be discounts for package tours to Udaypur and Talsari in Orissa, and Shankarpur, he added.

DHA sources said special advertisement packages to attract tourists from Orissa and Jharkhand have been prepared.

Sports competitions, magic and fun shows will jostle for attention with a colourful fair, the sources said. Various products of smallscale and cottage industries will be sold in the fair, they said. Bengali folk cultural programmes, like baul gaan, bhatiali gaan and jatra, will be the special attractions. The association has begun a hunt for sponsors for the beauty contest.

“We received the plan a few days ago,” said Anadamoy Bannerjee, chief executive officer of Digha Development Authority (DDA). “We will discuss it in the next meeting of DDA on December 19,” he said.

More than 1.5 lakh tourists throng the beaches of Digha at the time when the fiesta will be held. Thousands of vehicles ply on the resort’s roads then. “Maintaining law and order and controlling traffic will be two important issues during the festival and for this we will need the help of different government departments,” Bannerjee stated.

The festival has raised hopes among hoteliers in Digha, who are now busy giving a facelift to the rooms. “If the beach festival is held every year, our sagging economy will receive a major boost,” a hotel-owner said.

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