The three-day Sufi festival organised by the Punjab tourism department at Chappar Chiri was a flop show due to heavy rain on Monday.
The Chandigarh meteorological department had predicted heavy rain but the tourism department did not take a serious call on the weather predictions.
Sufi lovers were seen going back disappointed from the scheduled venue as the crafts mela was washed away by the heavy rain.
However, the venue was changed from Chappar Chiri to Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran, on the 11th hour on Monday, but the department failed to inform people about it.
Though the department has invited people from different states to set up their stalls, the stall holders went back as no arrangements were made for them.
Jatinder Kaur Khalon, a resident of Sector 34, Chandigarh, said, “I am a big Sufi lover and especially came to see the festival, but was disappointed to see the empty venue.”
Some of the stall owners who were returning back said the organising authorities could have informed them about the weather predictions.
Arif Mugal, who came from Malerkotla to participate to the craft mela, said that due to the mismanagement, they were going back to Malerkotla and will not even continue to the last day of the fest.
When HT team visited the venue, it was seen that only a few stalls were there in the cafeteria and others were getting packed.
The authorities have created a page on the social networking site Facebook, where a poster was posted and the events were explained with venue, but failed to post any information about the changed venue.
Checking the official register of the Chappar Chiri, it was noticed that only 156 visitors visited the place on Monday.
Even the SAS Nagar police received the information at around 4pm that the venue of the Sufi night has been changed from Chappar Chiri to CGC, Landran.
Director of tourism department Navjot Singh Randhawa said the heavy rain affected the festival and the venue was changed. “The department did not seek any report from the Met department regarding the weather predictions. We did not keep any alternative by keeping the bad weather conditions but will make better arrangements next time,” he said admitting the mistake.
Retired additional secretary of Punjab, Birinder Pal Singh Khalon said that this was a great initiative by the Punjab government, but they should have made alternate arrangements so that the visitors were not harassed in this manner.