Ministers laud mammoth 'Gayatri Mantra' meet



Haridwar: Governments should learn crowd management from the organisers of the five-day event on 'Gayatri Mantra' that began here on Friday, a state and a central minister said.

Central Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat and Uttarakhand Urban Tourism Minister Madan Kaushik made the remarks at the start of the meet that has drawn tens of thousands of people.

"Our Chief Minister (BC Khanduri) told us at the cabinet meeting yesterday that we should learn management techniques from the organisers," Kaushik said while addressing the inaugural event.

Rawat, who is also from Uttarakhand, said he found "this Kumbh" better organised than the periodic Kumbh Melas held in Haridwar with government backing.

"Both the state and the central government should take a lesson from the way this is being held," he said.

An estimated 1.5 lakh people attached to the "Gayatri Parivar" -- the organisers -- thronged the opening event that began with 24,000 women in yellow sari marching from two spots, holding on their head earthen pots also painted in yellow with 'Gayatri Mantra' written on them.

As they marched, a helicopter sprinkled flowers on the gathering.

'Gayatri Mantra' is the foremost mantra in Hinduism. Its chanting is said to remove obstacles and increase wisdom and spiritual growth.

Organisers say the event is expected to attract lakhs of people from all over the country from November 06 to 10. Many foreigners were also seen.

Among those expected to attend are anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and Chief Ministers Narendra Modi of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan, Khanduri, and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh.

IANS