Itagar, January 17: The maiden Pakke Paga Festival began at Seijosa in East Kameng district yesterday.
The festival has been initiated primarily to popularize the role played by the local Nyishi people in conserving hornbills in Pakke and surrounding areas.
The festival also seeks to focus on the importance of conservation of hornbills and wildlife in the state as well as to create interest and awareness among urban Indians and foreign visitors about the cultural and wildlife heritage of Aruchal Pradesh especially of Pakke Tiger Reserve and its surrounding areas.
Paga means hornbill in the Nyishi language.
It is also to focus on the importance of conservation of hornbills and wildlife in Aruchal Pradesh (the need to reduce hunting and logging and come up with policies to provide altertive source of income).
Aparajita Dutta of Mysore–based ture Conservation Foundation which has played a pioneering role in conservation of hornbills in Pakke had earlier said “We hope that through this festival there is increased pride and support for the conservation efforts in and around Pakke tiger reserve”
The Boro Students Union, All Assam Students Union, and members of Nyishi Elite Society appreciated the initiative to conserve the precious hornbills and to maintain the brotherhood feelings with the neighbouring state.
Takum bam of the Ghora Abhe Society which is working with various organizations to host the event appraised audiences and villagers how the concept of the festival emerged.
Yesterday’s iugural programme also included war dance, play, screening of short films, 10 km race, local games and sports like segia gam (arrow–shooting), local shot put, stick wrestling, sight–seeing and drawing competition.
State PHED minister Takam Pario while gracing the occasion said, “Aruchal Pradesh is blessed with abundant fau and flora, wildlife and unique species which need to be globalised”.
Pario added that “we need to popularize our resources and we should conserve by maintaining peace and brotherhood with Assam”.
“Conservation and preservation of tural resources will also boost the economic development of the state and will help the culture and traditions of the state grow globally”, he added.
The festival will conclude on Sunday.