CM mulls date rejig to avert clash with school exams

IMPHAL, 30th Nov: The 10-day Manipur Sangai Festival, 2018 organised to promote tourism in the state came to an end with a glittering function at Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT) on Friday.
Governor Dr Najma Heptulla and chief minister N Biren attended the closing function as chief guest and president respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, CM Biren expressed concern over how several students were left in despair due to overlapping of the festival schedule with their school annual examination and said that the government will discuss the matter to explore possibilities of changing the schedule to avoid such situation.
He said that people of both hills and valley extended equal co-operation to the government in organising the 10-day festival. Princess of Thailand and US Ambassador to India attended the festival for the first time this year, he said while adding that Sumo wrestling event was organised in the North East region for the first time during the festival.
Biren said that Princess of Thailand was impressed on witnessing the historic antique items showcased at Kangla Museum.
Stating that the Thai princess’ visit to the state was very positive, he informed that the princess expressed her willingness to take up some joint ventures with the state.
Regarding the arrest of some MMTA trekkers by Nagaland Police, the CM informed that he had talked to Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rioalong with conveying that the matter has now been resolved and all the arrested trekkers would be released.
The CM further informed that the visiting team of 15th Finance Commission expressed concern over improper implementation and utilisation of fund for public welfare schemes while observing that maximum of the funds did not reach the targeted population. However, he had assured the Commission members that his government would do the needful to ensure the benefits reach the targeted people at the grassroots level. He also said that ‘Go to Hill’ and ‘Go to Village’ missions are significant steps towards this end.
Stating that many deserving people and households are unable to get benefits under government’s schemes due to faulty collection of data during Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) , Biren informed that he had instructed the chief secretary to constitute an enquiry committee to probe the reason for such irregularities.
Informing that some people are of the opinion that the state government is giving too much emphasis on organising festivals, the CM contended that festivals in different districts are organised to inculcate a sense of competition and promote hard work among farmers. Ginger, pineapple and orange productions had increased manifold after organising Ginger Festival, Pineapple Festival and Orange Festival, he observed.
Chief guest Dr Najma Heptulla said that tourism is considered to be the fastest growing sector in today’s development scenario anywhere in the world. It has become the economic lifeline of many countries without much natural resources and it has successfully transformed economic landscape of these countries. 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 tourists and these need to be engaged on priority particularly in the hill districts.
The Governor 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.
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, Dr Heptulla maintained. Further, the civic authorities and people should make Manipur a much cleaner state, particularly the roads and other public places, she continued.
Stating that a number of places in the hill districts can be developed into popular hill stations, Dr Heptulla said that steady increase in tourism infrastructure like hotels, road transport under the Act East Policy and specific initiatives taken up by the state government like Manipur Sangai Festival, things have started looking up in the tourism sector.
Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar, deputy speaker K Robindro, ministers, MLAs, high ranking civil, police and military officers and large number of people also attended the closing function.
Earlier, the CM felicitated 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. Colourful cultural programmes were also presented at the function.
Meanwhile, speaking as chief guest at the closing function at Keibul Lamjao venue, forest and environment minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar lauded the people living in and around Keibul Lamjao National Park for supporting the government in organising the festival successfully. He said that sincerity, goodness and hospitality of the locals have helped in attracting many tourists in the area.
PDA chairman T Robindro appreciated forest department for providing stalls to the locals and self help groups free of cost. He also assured that people of Keibul Lamjao will continue their support to the department.
Stating that the festival gives a chance to learn about the culture and tradition of different states or countries, he contended that number of foreign and domestic tourists coming has increased significantly this year.
It may be mentioned that 70 stalls were opened during the festival at Keibul Lamjao. Stalls of IT, police, health departments were opened which provided necessary help to the people. Tourists from Thailand, Israel, United States and Norway including the Princess of Thailand visited the festival venue at Keibul Lamjao.

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