From Staff Correspondent
Shillong, Nov 8: The second Autumn Intertiol Cherry Blossom Festival began here on Wednesday with fresh hopes that it will have an inter-continental effect in the years to come.
Unlike the rest of the world where cherry blossom trees bloom in spring, cherry blossom trees here comes into flower in autumn. This is quite unique, a reason that made organisers start the festival last year as part of the tourism promotion programme.
During the formal iuguration of the four-day festival, State Forest & Environment Minister Clement Marak cited the cherry blossom festivals in Japan, Korea, Switzerland and New Zealand as instances on how millions of tourist could be attracted during the spring season.
He said, “And here we have the only cherry blossom trees that bloom in autumn that can attract tourists the same way.”
“We have just started this festival and, in a few years, I hope we will attain intertiol recognition and hopefully it will place our State firmly on the world stage with a recognisable symbol,” Marak stated as he also stressed the importance of preserving the bio-diversity and tural resources of the State.
He said that enough damage has been done and it is about time to stop this while stressing that richness of the likes of cherry blossom trees should be preserved.
The Minister also spoke on the multiple effects of preserving the State’s rich bio-diversity, as evident from the success of the first cherry blossom festival last year.
Marak also released a special cover of the 2nd India Intertiol Cherry Blossom Festival postage.
The four-day festival is lined up with a number of activities at Wards Lake, Tara Ghar and the main venue at Polo Ground.
Meanwhile, there are talks that the festival is untimely since the cherry blossom trees are yet to bloom in Shillong and its adjacent areas. A member of the Institute of Bio Resources and Sustaible Development acknowledged it, but alluded it to probable climatic interferences that delayed the maturing of flowers in Shillong and its periphery.
“You might be disappointed but signs of blooming are visible in areas like Upper Shillong and hopefully more positive is coming in the next four days,” one of them said. He cited the occurrence in Japan too in the last 50 years where climate change has affected timely ripening of cherry blossom flowers.