Chandigarh, February 17- Haryana Tourism Minister, Mr Ram Bilas Sharma said that the state government is making every possible effort to promote tourism n the state. The Surajkund International Craft Mela not only refines the art and craft of artisans and craft persons of the country and abroad but also helps in uplifting their standard of living. Nearly 17 lakh people visited the fair, this time.

The Tourism Minister was addressing the people on the concluding ceremony of 33rd Surajkund International Craft Mela-2019 in Faridabad today. A War Memorial of international level would be developed in Panipat in the memory of brave Marathas who were martyred in the battles of Panipat, he added.

Mr Ram Bilas Sharma said that this fair has made its special identity at an international level. Artisans and Craftsmen of different countries ad within India, set up their stalls and participate in cultural programmes and thus promote the cultural heritage of their respective countries. This also helps in spreading the art and culture of India in other countries.

He said that 31 countries participated in the programme that included Egypt, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burundi, Tunisia, Kenya, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Bhutan, Holland, Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and others.

The Minister also honoured 21 artisans of different art and crafts with souvenirs and cash prize. Those artists honoured included Parampargat award to Mohan Lal Gurjar of Rajasthan, Kala Ratna to Iskandar Estefan Alhalabi of Syria, Kala Mani Award to Harijan Tejasi Dhane of Gujarat, Nand Kishore Sharma of Rajasthan, Rani of West Bengal, Kanta Khadse of Madhya Pradesh, U. Pasi Bhui of Orissa, Mirsad Nigmatov of Uzbekistan, Chandrakant Bondwal of Haryana, Humayun Noor of Afghanistan.

He awarded Kala Nidhi Award to Sandeep of Maharashtra, Om Prakash Malhotra of Himachal Pradesh, Shah Rashid Ahmed Qadari of Karnataka, Disha Shekhawat of Rajasthan, madhuri Behana nad Pankaj Bhai of Gujarat, Shabbir Ahmad Dhar of Jammu and Kashmir, Naseeb Ahmad of Uttar Pradesh and awarded Kala Shiri award to Khokan Nandi of West Bengal, Khem Raj Sundariyal of Haryana, Jela Venktesha of Telangana and Uday Shankar of West Bengal.

Those present included Additional Chief Secretary, Haryana Tourism, Mr Vijai Vardhan, Chairman, Haryana Tourism Corporation, Mr Jagdish Chopra, Director, Maharashtra Tourism, Mr Ashutosh Rathore and others.