The Bidar Utsav has been postponed to April 7, 8 and 9 on account of the drought in the district. It was earlier scheduled for February 17, 18 and 19.
“The arrangements for the utsav are halfway through. Programmes have been fixed, negotiations with artistes are over and they have been paid. It is difficult to cancel the event now. Therefore, we are postponing it,” Deputy Commissioner Sameer Shukla had said on Friday.
When the district administration announced the dates of the utsav, it was criticised for being “wrongly timed”. Farmers' groups had accused the Government of squandering money on “song and dance” when the district was reeling under drought.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader Vishwanath Patil Koutha had questioned the need for organising the function.
Rahim Khan, MLA and Khaji Arshed Ali, MLC had criticised the administration, alleging it was focussing on organising the utsav and not on drought relief. The Government issued an order on January 23 banning all utsavs in the State. However, a delegation of MLAs led by district in-charge Minister Revu Naik Belamagi met Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and urged him to exempt Bidar Utsav from the ban. They said the Bidar Utsav was not funded by the Government as a local committee was organising it with donations.
However, Mr. Gowda did not agree and directed them to follow the Government Order. “We will now focus on drought relief. I will convene a meeting of officials this week to review the drought situation,” Mr. Belamagi told The Hindu.