If the organizers cannot provide us with proper accommodation there is no need to hold this kind of event, an 'Assam Sanskritik Mahasangram' contestant who was left stranded in Guwahati on Saturday night told Pratidin Time. She was among many others who found themselves with no place to stay as night fell after being called for the state-level event to be held at Guwahati's Srimanta Sankaradev Kalakshetra.
The girl, who came from Tinsukia, stated, “If the organizers cannot provide us proper accommodation there is no need to hold this kind of event. Only contestants from Tinsukia district are facing these problems. There are 32 girls and 25 boys, who have been waiting on the streets. If they don’t value our talent, there’s no use in showing off and organizing these events.”
In the midst of the much-anticipated event, ‘Assam Sanskritik Mahasangram’ at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, participants from different districts of the state are grappling with accommodation issues. Almost all districts are being represented, but the focus has shifted to the predicament faced by young women taking part in the event.
A group of contestants found themselves without accommodation at around 12 am, midnight. This unprecedented situation unfolded among groups from Tinsukia. Around 40 to 45 contestants were stranded in front of Hotel Tokyo Tower with their luggage, as the organizers failed to provide rooms for accommodations.
Speaking to a Pratidin Time reporter, another contestant said, “They asked us to wait from morning 11 am to 9 pm at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra. They lied to us telling us that they had booked rooms for us. However, we were given only one room for 34 girls, which was stinking; we couldn’t even use the washroom. We can't stay in a single room. We were selected for the competition. We were expecting to get good accommodations.”
A guardian who accompanied the children said, “They have been waiting since morning. Once they were asked to take their luggage upstairs and again back downstairs which is creating problems. When they called for complaints the organizers came to the hotel but they could not solve the problems. We guardians are staying in a different hotel, we asked the organizers to stay with our children but they didn’t allow.”
“Our children have fallen ill, how will they perform for the competition the day after tomorrow? They said they would take all the responsibilities for the accommodations. However, when I asked the hotel staff, they said they can only accommodate 200 people, but they have been told to accommodate 400. There were no bookings for the group. If there is no rooms available then why did they ask us to come?” questioned another guardian.
The Assam Sanskritik Mahasangram is a state government initiative to identify and encourage cultural talents at the grassroots level. The Chief Minister of Assam announced this scheme “Assam Sanskritik Mahasangram” in the budget speech of 2023-24. Under this scheme, cultural competitions will be organized across Assam.
This situation has raised concerns about the management of state-level cultural competition; highlighting the need for better planning and considerations for the participants.