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IMPHAL | Nov 30
The 10-day annual Manipur Sangai Festival, 2018 organised by the State Government with a vision to promote tourism sector in the State came to an end with a function held at Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT) today.
Governor, Dr. Najma Heptulla and chief minister, N. Biren Singh attended the closing function as the chief guest and president respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Heptulla said that tourism is considered the fastest growing sector in today’s development scenario anywhere in the world. Stating that tourism has become the economic lifeline of many countries without abundant natural resources, she opined that it has successfully transformed the economic landscape of these countries and helped in maintaining a vibrant economy. Tourism in the State also deserves due attention, she said while adding that tourism infrastructure such as accommodation, road and transport are prerequisites for attracting the tourists and these need to be engaged on priority particularly in the hill districts.
The governor further opined that the issue of accommodation would automatically be addressed if there is a rise in tourists and for this, investment would be forthcoming. What a tourist needs is not a five star hotel but a basic clean, hygienic and affordable accommodation, she said. The concerned agencies of the State Government should inspect the hotels and other places of stay regularly to ensure that they are maintained at a minimum standard of hygiene and cleanliness, she added.
She further stated that paying guest system needs to be encouraged as Manipur now has many private buildings which easily meet the standard. For this, training of the owners of these buildings needs to be carried out and inspection done regularly, she said. Further, the civic authorities and the people should make Manipur a much cleaner State, particularly the roads and other public places.
Stating that a number of places in the hill districts of the State can be developed into popular hill stations, Dr. Heptulla said that under the Act East Policy, steady increase in the tourism infrastructure like hotels and road and transport and specific initiatives taken up by the State government like the Manipur Sangai Festival, things have started looking up in the tourism sector.
Speaking on the occasion, N. Biren Singh said that people of both the hill and valley districts extended equal co-operation to the government in organising the 10-day festival this year. He said that the Manipur Cherry Blossom cum Flower Festival organised at Mao in Senapati district became a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival from this year onwards.
Princess of Thailand and US Ambassador to India attended the festival for the first time this year, he said while adding that Sumo wrestling events was organised in the northeast region for the first time during the festival. N. Biren Singh said that the princess of Thailand was impressed on having glimpses of the historic antique items showcased at Kangla Museum. Stating that the Thai princess’ visit to the State was very positive, N. Biren Singh said that the princess expressed her willingness to take up some joint venture activities with the State.
Regarding the arrest of some trekkers of Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA), who went trekking to Dzuko valley, by Nagaland Police, the chief minister informed the gathering that he had talked to chief minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio regarding the incident. Minister of Public Health Engineering, Losii Dikho was sent to Kohima to meet the authorities concerned of the neighbouring State, the chief minister said that the matter had now been resolved and all the arrested trekkers would be released.
The chief minister also said that he had assured the 15th Finance Commission members that the new State Government would do the needful to reach the Government benefits and funds to the targeted people at the grassroots level. He opined that the ‘Go to Hill’ and the ‘Go to Village’ missions of the new State Government are the significant steps towards this end.
Stating that many deserved people and households are unable to get benefits under Government’s noble schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana - Ayushman Bharat and National Food Security Act (NFSA) due to faulty collection of data during Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) compilation, N. Biren Singh said that he had instructed the chief secretary to constitute an enquiry committee to probe the reason for such irregularities.
Informing that some people had opined that the State Government has been giving too much emphasis to organising many festivals, the Chief Minister opined that festivals in different districts are organised to inculcate the sense of competition and hard work among farmers. Ginger, pineapple and orange productions had increased manifold after organising Ginger Festival, Pineapple Festival and Orange Festival, he observed.
Deputy chief minister, Y. Joykumar; deputy speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly, K. Robindro, ministers and MLAs along with other high ranking civil, police and military officers also attended the closing function.
The chief minister feted officials of different government departments, agencies and private companies for extending support and co-operation in successfully organising the biggest tourism festival of the State at the function. Colourful cultural programmes were also presented at the function.
Meanwhile, the festival held at YIC Ground, Keibul Lamjao concluded today.
Speaking as the chief guest of the closing function, forest minister, Thounaojam Shyamkumar credited the people for their role in the conservation of the Sangai, the state animal which is only found in Manipur at Keibul Lamjao National Park and appealed them to continue their support in the conservation and preservation of the dancing deer.
Chairman planning and development authority, T. Robindro Singh appreciated the forest department for availing stalls to the locals and self-help groups free of cost and assured that people of Keibul Lamjao will continue their support to the department.
Mention may be made that 70 stalls opened during the festival at Keibul Lamjao by the local residents and self-help groups were given by the forest department free of cost. Apart from these stalls, IT department, police, health departments also set their stalls and provided necessary help to the people.
Keibul Lamjao venue was also visited by the tourists from Thailand, Israel, United States and Norway including the Princess of Thailand.