The Andhra Pradesh government, which has decided to make Sankranti the State festival, kick-started the celebrations at all its offices from State to the village level ' perhaps, taking the cue from its Telangana counterpart which brought a distinctly local flavour to the Dasara festival by making it the State festival last year.
The AP government is now egging on its women employees to play rangoli, an age-old tradition in Andhra during Sankranti. In fact, there was a festive atmosphere at the North Block in the AP Secretariat. Women employees, dressed in their traditional best, were busy competing with one another in drawing attractive Sankranti Muggu (rangoli) designs. And, the best part: their bosses were only too glad to let them do so.
The Chandrababu Naidu government has already announced a three-day Sank ranti holiday for its employees just like the TS government had done for Dasara. Going a step further, the AP government has allotted `13 crore to organise Pongal festivities across the State. The TS government had spent `10 crore for Dasara!
The Naidu government has also set up a ministerial panel to oversee arrangements for Sankranti. 'During the festival, various competitions, besides rangoli, are being organised for women in every village. Competitions like kite-flying and other rural sports are also being encouraged,' IT Minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy said.
Not one to let go of an opportunity, Chandrababu Naidu is also making efforts to implement 'Chandranna Sankranti Kanuka' (Chandranna's Sankranti gift) ' a scheme named after himself under which gift hampers, each containing six essential commodities, will be distributed to white ration card holders. The government is planning to give this gift to 1.3 crore families in the State.