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15-day Asar Pandra fest under way in Sikkim
Correspondent

Local people transplanting paddy seedlings to mark the festive occasion.
 KHAMDONG, June 29 - The traditional Asar Pandra festival related to paddy transplantation got off to a colourful start today with festive fervour at Dung Dung village in Khamdong of East Sikkim.

The programme was graced by Minister for Agriculture LN Sharma as the chief guest along with Minister for Health Department Dr MK Sharma, Minister for Transport Sanjit Kharel, MLAs Sonam Venchungpa, BK Sharma, Sunita Gazmer, Em Prasad Sharma, Secretary to Agriculture Department, Rinzing Chewang Bhutia, Secretary to Horticulture Department, MT Sherpa, Secretary to IPR Department Namrata Thapa and senior officers of the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments.

The dignitaries performed bhoomi puja as a mark of reverence to the mother earth. The paddy land, it may be mentioned, belongs to local gentry Bhim Bahadur Pradhan, KN Pradhan and LP Pradhan.

To the accompaniment of Bethi, the dignitaries joined the local residents in transplanting paddy seedlings in the field. Traditional sounds of the Naumati Baja and traditional songs lent festivity to the occasion.

Secretary to the Agriculture Department, Rinzing Chewang Bhutia in his address emphasised on the importance of the agricultural sector. He said that the people of Sikkim, especially the youth, are taking keen interest in agriculture and allied activities. He stated that the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic has tested the forbearance of the farmers. But the farmers have responded relatively well and have not let the circumstances affect them adversely.

Minister for Health Department and also the MLA of Khamdong Singtam constituency, Dr MK Sharma reiterated the importance of farming as a sustainable profession and a way of life. He extended his warm greetings to the people of Khamdong and surrounding areas.

He stated that the post-corona period will be an era of agriculture and sustainable development and called for the need to integrate traditional farming with scientific inputs for optimum production. He stated that the State Government is laying highest priority to agriculture and allied activities and urged the people to make the most of the opportunities.

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