Thursday, June 13, 2024

MTDF calls for debate on ‘Sunday’ issue


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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Hoping to arrive at an amicable solution to the growing resentment over the Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF)’s decision to organise the Shillong Autumn festival on November 6, a Sunday, the MTDF has decided to resolve the matter by holding an open debate between the two groups (those supporting the decision and others against it)at the Shillong Club on November 1.

“The debate will clear all doubts on whether festivities should be organised during Sundays or not,” MTDF member DD Laloo said on Saturday.

“Once both the groups debate and present their views, we would take into account the voice of the majority and accordingly resolve the issue,” he added.

Laloo said that the MTDF will invite the Shillong Press Club to act as a neutral observer during the proposed debate.

“We would also like to request the opposing Church bodies, NGOs and other groups to remain present during the debate.

“We would have a healthy debate only if more people and organizations attend this proposed debate,” he said.

Another MTDF member, Ian Khongmen, said that the MTDF was being singled out since there has never been any opposition whenever any trade fair, shopping carnival and other festivities are organised on Sundays.

Accusing certain groups of being anti-secular, Khongmen said that no one had the authority to dictate terms to people.

‘People should be allowed to make their own choice. We live in a country which believes in secularism,” he said.

“We would definitely take into the account the outcome of the debate before deciding on any future events which would be organised. But as of now, we would not be postponing the ‘Family Day’ to be organised at Orchid Lake Resort, Umiam, since Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma has made it very clear that the event should go on,” Khongmen said.

“Since the Government is the main sponsor of this year’s Shillong Autumn Festival, the MTDF would have to agree to all the decision the Government makes.

“The main attraction of the ‘Family Day’ would be kite flying, para gliding, boating, magic shows among other attractive activities aimed at generating interest among the children.

Meanwhile, the MTDF members asserted that there would be a complete ban on sale or consumption of liquor at the venue during the ‘Family Day’.

“We would not allow anyone under the influence of liquor to enter the venue. Anyone who smells of alcohol would be barred from entering the venue,” Khongmen said.

The Shillong Autumn Festival would kick off with the Shillong Street Carnival involving localities , schools and colleges besides performances by cultural troupes of the eight North-eastern states on November 4. The festival would then shift to Orchid Lake Resort, Umiam, for the remaining two days.


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