Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava begins tomorrow

The annual Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava will be held on February 4 and 5 at the central ground in Asaigoli, Konaje on Mangalore University Road. Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader, who is also the honorary president of the Utsava committee, told reporters on Thursday that the events will begin with a sports meet at 8 am at Vidyodaya Higher Primary School ground at Asaigoli on February 4.

Ekalavya awardee swimmer Akshata Poojary will inaugurate the sports meet. Konkani activist Eric Ozario will inaugurate cultural competitions at 8.30 am. Folk troupes will participate in a procession to be taken out from Derlakatte to the programme venue. Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree will inaugurate the festival at 5 pm in the presence of Union minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation D V Sadananda Gowda. Writer Vaidehi will inaugurate various sessions. Zilla Panchayat president Meenakshi Shanthigodu will inaugurate the cultural programmes.

Abbakka awards
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will be participating in the valedictory ceremony at 5 pm on February 5. Veera Rani Abbakka award will be conferred on Tulu and Kannada writer Prof D Vedavathi, while theatre person Rohini Jagaram and social worker Sarala B Kanchan will be honoured with the ‘Veera Rani Abbakka Puraskar’.

Rs 30L released
Reacting to media queries, Khader said the district administration has sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the festival. In this, Rs 30 lakh has already been released and the remaining 20 lakh is expected to be released soon, he added.

Extension plans
With regard to plans towards extending the annual event to state-level as it is organised in commemoration of the erstwhile ruler of Ullal Rani Abbakka who is also regarded as the first freedom fighter, Khader said similar plans are on the anvil. He said plans are afoot to host the event this year in New Delhi apart from Bengaluru, where the event was conducted the previous year too.

Reacting to queries over gross violation of protocol in the previous years by allotting funds to the Samiti that was not registered at that time, the minister defended the formation of the committee by like-minded persons who with the common interest raised funds to host the event. It was due to their initiative that Rani Abbakka is now known to all, he said. Khader said that there was no scope for irregularities.
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