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Shopping festival begins

Special Correspondent

Permanent trade centre to be developed in State capital

PHOTO: S.K. MOHAN

Festive spirit: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac inaugurating the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival in Kannur on Tuesday. —

KANNUR: A cultural pageantry and various entertainment programmes that lasted over three hours gave a splendid start to the 45-day Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) here on Tuesday. The opening ceremony was marked as much by the huge public participation as by the staging of the mega cultural show, befitting the occasion.

Municipal Jawahar Stadium, the venue of the opening ceremony, was flooded with people who turned up to watch the State-level inauguration of the third season of the festival. The function, attended by Ministers, people’s representatives, officials and representatives of sponsoring agencies, was followed by the cultural show, presented by film artistes and playback singers and variety entertainment troupes.

Objective

Inaugurating the festival, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said the main objective of the fete was to make Kerala an international shopping destination. The GKSF was one of the major steps of the government to strengthen the State’s commercial sectors. None of the Five Year Plans, since the planning process started 55 years ago, had given any importance to those sectors. The government planned to extend the spirit of shopping festival to production sectors as well. The government wanted to renovate market places and shopping areas in the State, he added.

Delivering his presidential address, Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the GKSF, unlike the shopping festivals in Dubai and Singapore, was planned to cover traders in as much as 38,000 sq km of the State. From next year onwards, the GKSF would be organised by the Kerala Trade Fair Authority that was being set up. Acknowledging the role of the media in treating the festival as a development enterprise, he said a permanent trade centre would be developed in Thiruvananthapuram. Trade festivals and international fairs could be held at the trade centre, which could also be used for selling traditional products of the State.

Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran, A.P. Abdullakutty, P. Jayarajan, K.P. Mohanan and M. Prakashan, MLAs, Principal Industries Secretary T. Balakrishnan, Tourism Secretary V. Venu and M. Venugopal, Managing Director of Federal Bank, title sponsor of the event, were among those present.

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