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Countdown for Nehru Trophy race begins with colourful rally

Written by: Staff
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Alappuzha, Aug 8 (UNI) The countdown for the biggest water festival in India, the 54th Nehru Trophy boat race, to be held on August 12, began with a colourful procession here this afternoon.

Nearly 5,000 school children and 2,000 representatives of various institutions and organisations took part in the rally, flagged off by Kerala Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

Folk dances, drums and colourful floats of vivid sceneries marked the rally, which was watched by thousands of people including foreigners.

The rally started from Bhattathiri Purayidom and concluded at the municipal ground. A cultural meeting, held after the procession, was inaugurated by Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran.

Meanwhile, all preparations have been completed for the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. 60 boats in various categories will participate in the race.

The highlight of the race is the 'chundan' boats. This time, 18 chundans will be taking part.

A major attraction at this year's event will be the ''Chellikkadan'' boat, whose ten rowers are foreign women.

The government has declared a prize money of Rs 200,000 for the winner in the 'chundan' category. The second team will get Rs 150,000 while the team placed third will go back home with Rs 100,000. The 'chundans' which enter into the final round will be presented with Rs 75,000 each. Besides, all 'chundan' boats will get Rs 25,000 each as maintenance grant.

The Outlook magazine has declared that it will present Rs 100,000 to the winner in the chundan category and Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 10,000 to those placed second, third and fourth respectively.

Chief minister V S Achuthanandan will inaugurate the prestigious boat race at 1400 hrs. on the Punnamada backwaters.

The construction of the temporary stadium and pavilion has been completed. In view of last year's mishap, in which several spectators were injured, the organisers have arranged separate enclosures for the viewers.

UNI XR ARC DK1626

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