Shimla, Dec 25 (UNI)- Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Monday inaugurated the first-ever ‘Shimla Winter Carnival’ at the historic Ridge.

The event started with a cultural parade and the participation of 450 women presenting Mahanati, showcasing the talent of self-help groups and Anganwadi workers.

The Chief Minister said that the Winter Carnival in Shimla is a historic moment for the city, which will last upto January 5 next year and it aims to boost tourism activities in the state.

He said that the recent monsoon fury had adversely affected state’s tourism sector, but due to the efforts of his cabinet colleagues and different departments, the state has recovered from this setback.

Sukhu said that Himachal Pradesh had witnessed an influx of 30,000 tourist vehicles in the last couple of days, signaling a promising revival of the tourism industry in the State.

He commended public representatives and officers for their contributions in this task and emphasized the role of tourism revenue in the state’s economy.

The Chief Minister said that the present state government is committed to promote tourism in the state as it has allocated a substantial Rs. 3,000 crore budget to the tourism sector, a significant increase from the earlier Rs. 50 crore.

He expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support received from children, all sections of the society and tourists in the state’s recovery from the disaster.

Sukhu extended his heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the recovery efforts. He said the state government has granted permission for all restaurants, dhabas and food shops in the state to remain open 24 hours from December 20 to January 5, 2024 to facilitate the people visiting the state.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated the exhibition on the Ridge, featuring stalls set up by the District Administration Shimla and various departments.

MLA Harish Janartha appreciated the efforts of state government for organising the Shimla Winter Carnival and its potential to enhance tourism in Himachal Pradesh.

Mayor Shimla, Surender Chauhan, welcomed the Chief Minister and said that the carnival represents the government’s commitment to ‘Vyavstha Parivartan.’

Cultural programmes including Kullavi Nati and Singtu of Sirmaur district were also orgnaized on the occasion. The carnival, running up to January 5, offers local dishes, laser shows and various cultural programs, contributing to the celebration of Himachal Pradesh’s rich cultural heritage.

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