Artistes perform at the festival.

Residents of around seven villages surrounding Aalo in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday  took a pledge to conserve Siyom, one of the most prominent rivers of the West Siang district.

The villagers inked a pact–Yomgo Accord, which aims to involve all citizens of West Siang, especially those living on the banks of the Siyom, to come together and work to revive and conserve the river and all its tributaries.

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 6th Yomgo Ri-ver Festival, one of the state’s most popular river carnivals which also got under way in Kabu village, the cleanest village of West Siang, near here on Friday. Earlier, the Yomgo River Festival was known as the Siang River Festival.

Speaking at the event, West Siang deputy commissioner Swetika Sachan said, “The Yomgo Accord will go a long way in spreading the message of river conservation and bring people together to save rivers. This year the festival’s theme is celebrating the Siyom and its impact in shaping the region’s cultural landscape. The river has provided the people in its vicinity a unique identity.”

The official said Arunachal Pradesh holds a special place in the nation for its diverse cultures, languages and people.

“With 26 major tribes and over 100 minor tribes, Arunachal is an extremely diverse state. The Galo tribe is one of the primary tribes that gave the state its great diversity of tribal culture. The festival is a commemoration of the Galo tribe’s essence and an effort to bring out its uniqueness to the world,” Sachan added.

She said the festival is not only about merry making but showcasing the rich culture of the Galos and promoting eco-tourism in the region.

Textiles and industries minister Tumke Bagra said the festival not only promotes the region in the tourism circuit, but it also helps locals earn revenue.

Local MLA Kento Jini sought coordination from all to make the event the country’s most popular festival.

The festival began with the inauguration of the food stalls by the DC. It was followed by the display of nyida (Galo marriage ceremony) and bamboo handicraft and amin (local dish) making competitions.

The three-day festival will culminate on Sunday with Indian-American songwriter and singer Raja Kumari’s performance.

Panel discussions on cultural tourism in rural communities — avenue and challenges, folk song and dance competition among other such things were the other highlights of the day.

Performances by Vik Feyago (Calcutta), Omak Komut Collective (Arunachal), David Angu and Tribe (Arunachal), Gauley Bhai (Kalimpong) and Arko Mukherjee Collective (Calcutta) enthralled the audience in the evening.

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