President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday stressed the need for increase in India's exports of traditional art and craft products during his inaugural address at the 27th Surajkund International Crafts Mela at Surajkund.
After his speech, the President threw open the fortnight-long annual extravaganza showcasing the country's rich art, craft, cuisine, culture and civilizations, amid tight security arrangements.
"There is a need to increase and improve infrastructure in the field of art and craft products," Mukherjee said, adding the global slowdown in 2008 has also affected this field enormously.
Appreciating the efforts of Haryana and Karnataka tourism departments, the President hoped that other states would follow suit and organise similar crafts mela in their own states.
He recalled that Surajkund mela's modest beginning in 1987 in just three acres of land has taken shape of an International fair this year with an area of around 40 acres. He hoped that the fortnight-long fair will attract about 15 lakh visitors.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda welcomed the President amid the presence of Haryana Governor Jagannath Paharia.
President Mukherjee who had to fly to Surajkund, however, arrived in a car from Rashtrapati Bhawan due to foggy weather. In order to avoid inconvenience to public, Mukherjee had earlier decided to come in a chopper. The traffic police had also put restriction on Surajkund and shooting range route due to VVIP movement on Saturday.