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Sonepur cattle fair fast losing its sheen, reduced to a cultural carnival

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Once famous as Asia’s largest cattle fair, Bihar’s “Sonepur Mela” is losing its sheen with colourful events turning it into a cultural carnival.The fair, which was inaugurated by deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi on November 2, is put up at the confluence of River Ganga and River Gandak in Saran district, around 40 kilometres from the state capital.The various folklore associated with the fair claim that animals were traded here from the times of Chandragupt Maurya and through the Mughal era. It is believed that Veer Kunwar Singh also visited the centuries old fair to strengthen his cavalry and infantry to fight against the British.Elephants, horses, cows, buffaloes, goats and birds were once a major attraction at the fair, but the scenes have changed now. The regular visitors to the fair claim the number of cattle traders has reduced considerably, and handloom and handicraft stalls along with government kiosks now dominate the fairground.The reason for almost emply “Gai Bazaar”, many believe, is the increased fear of cow vigilantes across the nation. Similar views were echoed by RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav, who said, “Fewer animals have been brought to the fair as cattle traders are hesitant of attack by Gau Rakshaks en route. Earlier people were afraid of lions, now they are afraid of cows.”The ban on trading of elephants and birds has added to the lacklustre. “Till the turn of the century, elephants from across the country were traded at the fair. However, for the last few years, they were only put on exhibition and now even that is on verge of extinction,” says Harkhu Rai, who visited the fair to buy milch animals.The focus of the fair has now shifted on entertainment events such as theatre and cultural evenings along with spreading awareness and promotion of government’s policies and products. The Government of Bihar too is aware of the changes and a senior official of the state tourism department said, “With so many legislation related to animal trade coming up in the country, it is difficult to preserve its essence of being Asia’s largest cattle fair. Perhaps, renovating it as a cultural centre in the coming years will be more practical.”The fair, which is visited by many foreign tourists, will conclude on December 2.

Rajasthan: Booklet, pamphlet on love jihad ‘distributed’ at spiritual fair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A controversial booklet and a pamphlet warning Hindu girls of ‘love jihad’ were allegedly distributed at a stall in an ongoing Hindu spiritual and service fair here, prompting the police to order an inquiry.The pamphlets, carrying a picture of a Bollywood actress, warned the people against ‘love jihad’ and also claimed that two Muslim actors had left their Hindu wives. Amid claims that the material was handed out at a stall of Bajrang Dal, its coordinator Ashok Singh said it was not distributed from their stall.Fair organiser Somkant Sharma said the content was not related to the fair. “I have no idea if such pamphlets have been distributed. The fair is totally based on the work of service,” he said. DCP South Yogesh Dadhich said an inquiry was ordered to look into the matter. “On reports of such material, I have asked the additional DCP to probe the matter to ascertain who distributed these things in the fair,” he told PTI. The fair is being held from November 16 to November 20

Reaching out: Fair to assist entrepreneurs, MSMEs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a view to giving a boost to the environment supporting the Medium and Small medium enterprises (MSME), the state government has taken an initiative called the India Industrial Fair (IIF). To be held for two months from now, the fair is aimed at highlighting the products of young entrepreneurs while giving them a market at national and international level.Proposed to be organised from January 5th to 8th, 2018, the fair will be held at JECC with a proposal of a whopping eight hundred stalls and six hundred exhibitions of expected exhibitors.“There would be eight focus areas – namely Textiles & Home Décor, Furniture, Shilp Gram & Handicraft, Agriculture & food processing, Engineering & Mining, Energy & electronics, Plastic, Rubber & Packaging, Building & Hardware,” said Subodh Agarwal, principal Secretary – MSME.The official further added, “Providing an opportunity to share new technology, to provide common platforms between producers and consumers, to encourage start-ups, to promote export and to coordinate efforts to expand the MSME industry of the country. He said that the role of MSME industries in the economic development of the country can also be highlighted through this fair.” The government is leaving no stones unturned as it has approached various state government for participation as well as a host of public sector undertakings to participate in the fair.HIGHLIGHTSEstimated expenditure: Rs1.5 to 2 crore. India’s largest MSME B2B and B2C Exhibition Total 800 NOS. of proposed stalls at Exhibition Total 600 expected exhibitor’s exhibition 8 focus areas for participants— approximately 100 stalls in each sector

Fewer visitors at Delhi Book Fair this year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Book Fair that concluded on Sunday, turned out to be a damp squib, with booksellers ruing that low turnout. According to publishers, the resonse this year was so bad that some of them have decided to not participate next year.Events beyond anyone’s control had contributed to the low turnout. The conviction of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ensured that less visitors from the Capital and neighbouring Haryana and Punjab came last weekend.Another factors were to blame too. Publishers say that sales dropped this year because of increased prices of books post GST. But their biggest grouse was the lack of publicity prior to the event.”There was not even one hoarding of the book fair anywhere outside. Moreover, earlier there were regular announcements at metro stations, where they would also sell fair tickets, but this time, there was nothing.The result is in front of you. This time we are finding it hard even to recover the money we spent in renting this space,” said a visibly worried Kaushal Goyal, from Pigeon and GBD Books.”There is no next time for us. This is the last time we are participating in this fair,” he added.Publishers also claimed that the cost of stall this year had risen with the price of Rs 56,000, being few thousand extra as compared to last year. However, ITPO, who organises the fair, denied the allegations saying that the stalls were made available at “subsidised rates”.”Each of them got a space on subsidised rates. We never increased the price of any stall. The minor increase in prices is because of the taxes,” said an official from ITPO, on condition of anonymity. With barely 120 publishers showing up at the fair, the count was significantly lower than last year that boasted of the presence of 180 plus exhibitors.Speaking condition of anonymity, a publisher who made his debut at the fair this year, rued his decision to participate.”Obviously, the poor promotional campaign is to be blamed for the low turnout. But other than that, GST too played its role. So this too went against us, which only affected our business further,” he said.

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