Authorities call off Ajanta-Ellora festival

TNN Article
Speculations over the fate of Ellora-Ajanta International Festival came to an end on Wednesday with authorities confirming that the event has been called off.
The last edition of the event was held in October 2016. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation(MTDC) authorities have now made it clear that festival edition for year 2017 — that was postponed for the first quarter of 2018 — will not take place all.

The discontinuation in holding the mega event has sparked outrage among art lovers with a section of stakeholders also blaming the authorities for losing golden opportunity to promote Aurangabad as a tourist destination.
The International festival had to be put off due to variety of reasons, including drought and law-and-order situation, in the past seven year until it got resumed in 2016.

MTDC regional manager for Aurangabad Nitin Mundaware said the official committee formed for organising Ellora-Ajanta International Festival has arrived at a decision against holding the event for 2017.
“The festival could have attracted good footfall in October itself, but it could not take place due to inevitable reasons. Later, it was mooted that the event could take place during February or March, but those plans were also could not materialise as the festival schedule could have clashed with HSC, SSC and other examinations,” he said.

Mundaware added that organised efforts would be taken from very beginning for holding the edition of the event for 2018. Entrepreneur and art-lover Nikhil Bhalerao alleged that official apathy on the part of the state authorities resulted into discontinuation of Ellora-Ajanta International Festival one more time.

“A lot of planning is required for holding the event and promoting it at national and international levels. The official apathy, however, has proved major obstacle for the event once again. It is collective failure on the part of authorities,” he alleged.
Ashish Garde, former president of Chamber of Marathwda Industries and Agriculture (CMIA), said an independent authority must be formed for smooth conduct of the festival every year.

 Different formal and informal groups related to heritage conservation and tourism along with government must join hands for organising the festival. The festival can serve as good opportunity to promote Aurangabad on world map,” he said.
 Vocalist Arati Patankar said authorities concerned should ensure grand success for Ellora-Ajanta international festival for 2018. “We hope that meticulous planning is done well in advance so that the event edition for current year is celebrated on grand note,” she said.

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