Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced that the government has set November 1, 2025, as the deadline for ensuring the state has no family living in extreme poverty.
Opening state-wide Onam Week celebrations organised by the Kerala Tourism Department in the capital city, he said the state had around 64,000 people living in extreme poverty, adding one section of them is expected to emerge from the BPL category by November 1 this year.
“A majority of them will be free from extreme poverty by November 1, 2024. Our aim is to make the state entirely poverty-free by November 1, 2025,” he said, seeking the support and coordination of public sector offices, public sector undertakings, and local self-government institutions.
November 1 is the formation day of the state. The CM said the government’s ‘Nava Keralam’ initiative is aimed at creating a new prosperous Kerala, going far beyond the conventional concept of Onam. Enumerating the state’s various welfare projects in various sectors, he said the Life Mission project has enabled the completion of around four lakh houses so far.
The week-long Onam Week celebrations will set the stage for presenting before a wider audience a variety of classical, folk, ethnic, and popular art forms in multiple venues in the state capital and districts across the state in the next seven days.
Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas, who presided over the function, said the Onam celebration is a symbol of unity among people, and we must strive to make it more popular this year.
In his welcome address, Minister for General Education and Labour V. Sivankutty lauded the meticulous efforts of the Department of Tourism in organising the annual festival on a large scale.
Others present at the function were Minister for Finance K N Balagopal; Minister for Food and Civil Supplies GR Anil; and Minister for Transport Antony Raju; MPs Binoy Viswom and John Brittas; MLAs VK Prasanth, Kadakampally Surendran; D K Murali; G Stephen; V Joy; P K Murali; and IB Satheesh; Deputy Mayor PK Raju; District Panchayat President D Sureshkumar; Councillor Dr Reena K S; Kerala Tourism Director P B Nooh; and District Collector Geromic George.
Noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai and actor Fahadh Faasil were the chief guests.
In her address, Sarabhai said Kerala is the rare place in the country where one can witness the convergence of people from all religions and races. “The spirit of Malayalis is the spirit of democracy,” she added.
Fahadh Faasil said the growth of Kerala tourism has benefited other sectors, including Malayalam cinema. He also extended his wholehearted support to Kerala Tourism’s ‘Cinema Tourism’ initiative.
Heralding the festival ahead of the inaugural ceremony, a Panchavadyam ensemble was performed by students and alumni of Peringode High School near Pattambi in Palakkad district. A dance performance by artists from Kerala Kalamandalam was also held.
Around 8,000 artists, including those from indigenous genres, will present various art forms in 30 venues in the state capital alone. The Department of Tourism will do illumination this year at Kanakakunnu Palace, where a laser show will also be conducted.
The week-long celebrations will conclude with a colourful pageantry from Vellayambalam to the East Fort in the city on September 2. Governor Arif Mohammed Khan will flag off the Onam procession at Manaveeyam Veedhi.
As part of the Onam celebrations, special illumination has turned the capital city into glittering zones from Kowdiar to East Fort and from Vellayambalam to Sasthamangalam.
The festival has, over the years, become one of the most popular cultural events that enthrals both tourists visiting Kerala during the season and the local communities as well.
In the capital district alone, programmes will be staged in as many as 30 venues.