Kolkata: Over the last few years, the annual food festival, Ahare Bangla at the Milan Mela fairground has become very popular. This annual fair held at the beginning of winter has drawn droves of food-lovers to taste some wonderful delicacies.
And not just selling food, the fair has also enabled businesses to explore new avenues and has thus, generated employment opportunities. Using their massive sales at Ahare Bangla as a plank, quite a few hotels and restaurants have been able to establish bases outside Bengal.
The State Animal Husbandry Department, which organises the fair, is busy now making preparations for holding the fair. That it has been an unqualified success is apparent from another fact: the department’s budget for the fair has jumped from Rs 75 lakh in 2015 to Rs 2.24 crore in 2017. This year, along with Animal Husbandry, the departments of Fisheries, Agriculture Marketing, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), along with five others, are lending a helping hand in the organising of the food festival.
Last year, sales at the five-day long fair had crossed Rs 2 crore. This year, officials of the department are confident that the number will rise by a few times.
Last year, well-established restaurants and hotels from Russia, China, Japan and Bangladesh had taken part and were very happy with the response. This year too, quite a few countries would be represented. And of course, the best of Bengal is represented – be it food or restaurants.