Rains have dampened the spirit of the much anticipated Cherry Blossom Festival in Meghalaya, as the first day of the program was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions keeping in mind the safety of festival goers and collaborators. This has left many tourists and visitors disappointed.
The impact Cyclone Midhili has led to the major set back to the Meghalaya Government and the organiser of much awaited Cherry Blossom Festival.
The festival was scheduled to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma in presence of deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong and Tourism Minister Paul Lyngdoh.
“Due to adverse weather conditions, Day 1 of the Cherry Blossom Festival stands cancelled. The impending rain poses a potential risk to all festival goers and collaborators, and your safety is our top priority,” an official statement issued by the organizers said.
“Day 1 ticket holders will be given free access to either Day 2 or Day 3. Season pass holders will get the amount of today’s show refunded on their RFID cards. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding. Stay tuned for further updates and information,” it said.
Tourist from Gujarat, Rushid came with his family to witness Cherry Blossom festival for the first time in Meghalaya and is very disappointed as he can no longer attend it.
“It is disappointing because we can’t come back tomorrow because we are travelling back to Gujarat tomorrow. We are here only for one day, we bought the tickets this morning and if the organisers I don’t know if they can refund but it’s disappointing,” Rushid said.
“We spend around Rs 10 thousand but more than the money I think the experience is ruined,” He said.
Another tourist said, “We had hotel booking till tonight, tomorrow is our flight to Delhi from Guwahati, I think we have to go back without attending it.”
Trusha, a student from IIM Shillong said, “We are feeling very said because we came all the way from IIM Shillong, this is the first Cherry Blossom or probably our last, so we won’t be able to attend it. We came here to see SANAM.”
Another student from IIM Shillong said, “This is not a good feeling to have, we are in first year right now. We came all the way to attend the concert and now the weather is not allowing. They should refund our money. We were looking for SANAM.”
Despite having exams on Monday, these students went to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Some tourists also complained despite there being warnings from the Meteorological department why there was an open air concert.
“We book our tickets yesterday, despite weather warning by the Meteorological department why open Air concert were there, shed should have been provided,” one tourist from Guwahati said.
While another complained that the organisers neglected the weather warning.
Even the food stall owners also complaint of heavy loss.
“We have prepared food for around a thousand people now, the estimated loss today will be no less than Rs 20 thousand. The rain has dampen the festivity. We bought chicken, pork, rice and all. Now look at us,” a stall owner A Kharpuli.
Later, speaking to media persons, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said, “Of course we had a small situation as the weather has acted in a different way but nonetheless hopefully we have clearer skies tomorrow and we should be able to move with all the events postponed for tomorrow and day after. We are not going to miss out on anything so that is good news.”
The three day festival is expected to attract over one lakh tourists. It is being held at RBDSA Sports Complex from November 17 to 19.
The government of Meghalaya is investing a sum of Rs 1.99 crore out of the total investment of Rs 9 crore for the most vibrant and most known tourism festival of Meghalaya.
Rain, accompanied by chilly winds is likely to continue on Saturday as well.