Hyderabad, Sep 28 (IANS) The floral festival of Telangana, Bathukamma, began on a colourful note on Saturday with women enthusiastically taking part in the festivities across the state, and the government distributing over one crore sarees to mark the occasion.Singing and dancing around specially arranged flowers, women in their best attire celebrate Bathukamma across the state. The folk festival symbolises the state's rich cultural identity and marks the beginning of the nine-day festival.Women employees of the Telangana Board of Intermediate Education organised Bathukamma at their office in Hyderabad as the holidays for all educational institutions in the state began on Saturday.Ministers, MPs and state legislators also participated in the festivities in their respective constituencies. The main official celebration for the day is scheduled to be held at Warangal on Saturday evening.Ever since the formation of Telangana state in 2014, Bathukamma is being celebrated as the state festival.As part of the festivities this year, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government is distributing nearly 1.02 crore sarees to women belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.The distribution of the sarees began on September 23 and is continuing in several parts of the state.This is the second year that the government is distributing sarees. Last year, the programme was stopped on the direction of the Election Commission in view of the model code of conduct for the Assembly elections.The government is spending Rs 313 crore on the programme this year. Each saree has been produced at a cost of Rs 280+ GST charges.The sarees have been sourced from the weaver clusters in the state. Textile and Handlooms Minister K.T. Rama Rao said that the programme is providing continuous employment and ensuring better income to the powerloom weavers. The sarees were made in 26,000 power looms employing hundreds of weavers.The Minister said sarees in 100 different shades and 10 new patterns were being distributed this year.Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao greeted the people on the occasion of Bathukamma."I have great pleasure to convey my warm greetings to the people of Telangana, especially the women on the auspicious occasion of Bathukamma Festival," said the Governor.She noted that the festival symbolises the cultural spirit of Telangana. Bathukamma is characterised by the gathering of flowers and making unique floral arrangements.The Chief Minister said that the Bathukamma festival is a living symbol of Telangana's culture and tradition. He asked people to celebrate it in a big way.He said the festival also symbolizes the worshipping of flowers which bloomed naturally and also reflects the self-respect of Telangana. He instructed officials to make proper arrangements at all the places, including temples where the Bathukamma festival is organised.
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