Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurated the annual Adivasi Mela 2024, taking place at the Adivasi Exhibition Ground, Unit-I in the city.
Scheduled to run until February 5, this tribal fair is organized by the ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department. Recognized as the annual culture-cum-trade fair for the 62 tribal communities of Odisha, it includes 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs).
As a flagship event of the SC and ST Development department, the 11-day mela at Adivasi Ground aims to showcase tribal life, anthropology, and provide a market for the sale of agricultural products, minor forest produce, and craft materials. Serving as a living museum for city residents, the fair allows tribal communities from across the state to exhibit their lifestyle and culture. Temporary huts are erected where they sell agricultural products such as spices, rice, cereals, minor forest produce, and handicrafts.
This year, the mela boasts 125 stalls, distributed across various categories, including 66 at Tribal Haat, 15 for art and crafts, 10 tribal huts, 24 for government line departments, 8 helpdesks, and 2 for research publications. After several years of being held at the IDCO Exhibition Ground, Unit-3, due to law and order concerns, the fair has returned to its original venue at Adivasi Ground.
As customary, tribal huts have been set up to showcase the diverse lifestyle and culture of different tribal communities and PVTGs. The featured huts this year represent Kutia Kandha, Santhal, Paudi Bhuyan, Hill Khadia and Mankirdia, Juanga Munda, Gadaba, Dongria Kandha, Lanjia Saora, Bonda, and Chuktia Bhunjia communities.
Operating from 2:30 pm to 9 pm daily until February 5, the Adivasi Mela is expected to draw a substantial crowd, with an annual attendance of eight to ten lakh people. The event traditionally generates a business turnover ranging from Rs 15 to Rs 16 crore.