PTI | | Posted by Akanksha Agnihotri, Khumtai (assam)

Rural Khumtai in eastern Assam is abloom on New Year’s day. With dahlias, bougainvilleas, roses, tuberoses and many more varieties, the flowers are vying for attention and buyers at a special carnival in this part of Golaghat district. A two-day ‘flower carnival’ is underway at Jugibari Rural Tourism Centre, ending on Sunday, which has drawn more than 10,000 visitors. (Also read: Ingenious Assam festival aims to combine tea industry with traditional culture )

“Flowers grow in abundance in all households here. We want to make the people aware that these can also be a means of livelihood,” Khumtai MLA Mrinal Saikia told PTI. The preparations started nearly four months ago so that local people could get adequate time to participate, he said.

“We had 34 stalls and all were booked much in advance. We could not accommodate many requests for stalls,” said Pradyut Khound, a local youth associated with the carnival.

He said more than 10,000 people visited the carnival over the two days, while saplings worth nearly 10 lakh were sold during the period. Renu Saikia said the carnival has enabled her to make a living from what was till now a “mere hobby”. Munmi Konwar, who heads the 20-member women’s group that runs the tourism centre, said local people used to sell flowers from their homes to visitors of the park.

“They did not make much money then. But this carnival has given a definite shape. Most of the stalls are by local people,” she said. The local legislator said the flower fest is part of a series of programmes to promote his constituency as a rural tourism destination.

“Jugibari was already a tourist destination, famous for the Jugibeel which attracts a number of migratory birds. Through the carnival, we are trying to provide a common platform for the locals to benefit from it,” Saikia added.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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