No food, no festival

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Aizawl, Mar 14 (UNI) Famine in Mizoram has taken away the colour from the lives of the people, especially on their annual spring festival Chapchar Kut today.

During this season, people in this capital city dress up in colourful traditional attires and throng the Assam Rifles Ground to participate in the state's biggest traditional festival.

In view of the Mautam (bamboo flowering) famine, which fell hard on the rural folk of the state, the administration has decided not to organise the festival this year. Incidentally, the festival pulls thousands of tourists from the Northeast every year.

''Chapchar Kut comes every year, whereas Mautam famine comes only every 50 years,'' Mizoram Chief Secretary Haukhum Hauzel said.

The Chapchar Kut used to be jointly organised by the State Art and Culture Department, Tourism Department and the state's largest NGOs, with involvement of lakhs of rupees. Instead, the government has decided to spend the expenditure of the festival as famine relief fund.

However, the day is being observed as a government holiday, with the streets of Aizawl carrying a deserted look.

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