CM declares Rs. 600 cr for Ukhrul road spruce up
UKHRUL, 16th Oct: Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (i/c) Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated the third edition of the much-awaited state level Shirui Lily Festival amidst a colourful mosaic of cultural performances at Shirui village here on Wednesday.
On reaching the venue, the Union Minister unveiled the 'Strength of Unity' statue in the presence of chief minister N Biren; deputy chief minister Y Joykumar and several other cabinet ministers. Prahlad Patel along with Biren jointly released a souvenir commemorating the glorious journey of 100 years of Ukhrul as an Administrative Sub-Division.
Addressing the mammoth gathering as chief guest, Prahlad Patel asserted that culture is a platform that connects and unites people from different parts of the country and cultural events like Shirui Lily festival could bring people from different cultures together and enhance mutual understandings of the different lifestyles.
While noting that there is backwardness of connectivity and difficult terrain in the district, he underscored the need for a change in the people's mind-set towards things around them. Tourism development cannot be achieved by anyone alone, be it the society, state government or the centre, he stressed while calling upon all the stakeholders to put in collective efforts towards achieving the common goal.
He said that the north east region is gifted with scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage which are one of the most important components of attracting tourists but due to some wrong perception, the region is unable to attract tourists and as such the mistaken perception needs to be changed.
The Union Minister informed that he had written a letter to the Union HRD Minister whether it is possible to make compulsory for the students of KVS and Navodaya Vidyalayas to visit the north east region at least once. He also mentioned that those who have witnessed the region would always remember the region throughout his/her lifetime.
CM Biren, who presided over the function, lauded the locals of Shirui village and the people of Ukhrul district for their concern and cooperation to the state government in promoting the festival to its present status.
While acknowledging that the hospitality of Tangkhul community is well known, he urged the district denizens to continue to extend their hospitality to visitors and tourists and assured to look into the different needs of the district in developing tourism.
He said that the present government had been pressurising the centre for a 'topographical need based budget' to bring inclusive development in the state and finally the centre implemented the Hill Areas Development Programme (HADP) for hilly states like Manipur.
All other districts of the state will also be covered under the scheme. Currently five districts have been selected for projects worth Rs 15 lakh each out of the total budget of Rs 75 lakh, he informed, adding that the state is definitely marching towards progress.
Biren disclosed that Tamenglong district has been selected among the 82 districts for the first phase and the district would be getting Rs 90 crore for its development under the programme.
Declaring that around Rs 600 crore would be spent by the government for improving road connectivity in Ukhrul district; he conveyed that around Rs 250 crore has also been sanctioned for the construction of roads connecting Kamjong and Tengnoupal districts. TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs has also agreed on setting up 75 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in the state, he added. He further informed that more than 2000 homestays have been booked by the tourists to witness the festival and thanked the village chiefs, leaders and people of Ukhrul for taking Shirui festival to greater heights.
The chief minister also urged youngsters of Ukhrul district to come forward to avail the benefits of 'Stand Up Manipur' under ‘Start Up Manipur’ initiated by the government
Deviating from the subject, Biren disclosed that the government is taking care of the prevailing situation in the state, although he did not specify it. The government will resolve the differences amicably at the earliest to ensure that interest of any community in the state is not harmed, he said.
Later, in the evening, Prahlad Patel inaugurated cultural exhibitions at TNL Ground and ShiRock festival at Bakshi Ground back to back after which he and CM Biren left the district around 3:30 pm from Bakshi Ground.
An array of cultural performances, folk songs and dances were showcased by Ringui Mathotmi Cultural Dance, Feather Heads, Pung & Dholok Cholom, Kangpat Folk Dance, Jessami Cultural Dance, Ramva Folk Dance and Rhythm of Manipur, apart from Bihu Dance performance by Assam Cultural Team and Modern Song (Ammzk). Popular Tangkhul singer Ngathingpam Tangvah presented his song Kashong Timrawori dedicated to Shirui Lily, while Guru Rawang blew the traditional trumpet to welcome the festival.
CAF&PD Minister Karam Shyam; Public Health Engineering Minister L Dikho; Agriculture Minister V Hangkhanlian; Member of Parliament (Inner) Dr RK Ranjan; Member of Parliament (Outer) Dr Lorho S Phoze; Tourism Corporation of Manipur Chairman, Dr Sapam Ranjan; MLAs Khashim Vashum; O Lukhoi; P Brojen; ADC Chairman and Members; Chief Secretary; Ukhrul DC Joseph Pauline; Kamjong DC Kengoo Zuringla and other high ranking state and central government officials also attended the function.