Sirarakhong village in Ukhrul district is indeed a prosperous village with a huge territory. Its main produce is the aromatic red chilly lovingly called ‘Hathei’ by the villagers of Sirarakhong and the village economy revolves around this ‘Hathei’. Besides Sirarakhong, there are a few other prosperous villages on the road which part ways with the Imphal-Ukhrul road from Mahadev point like Somdal, the birthplace of NSCN-IM supremo Thuingaleng Muivah and Tolloi, the birthplace of NNC leader Z Ramyo and of course Tuinem. Despite the deep rivalry between Somdal and Tolloi, both the villages have given its share of Naga underground leaders and All India civil service officers. Yet the roads which lead to these important villages from both Ukhrul town and Mahadeva point are in very bad shape. It took more than 2 and half hours to reach Sirarakhong which is about 38 kilometres from Mahadeva point. More than 20 kilometres of the road seems to have been blacktopped a few months back and a few miles are under construction. But as one nears Sirarakhong, the road conditions worsened and many a vehicle was found stuck in the mud on the road. And the people who came for the chilly festival had to walk a few kilometres to reach the village. It is said, the road condition is even worse on the road beyond Sirarakhong which leads towards Ukhrul town. Only the four by four jeep could traverse on these roads and it takes about 5 hours drive to reach Ukhrul from Sirarakhong, which should take not more than one hour in good road conditions. The travellers get all muddy as they had to sometimes join in pushing the jeeps. The miles become longer when one travels on these roads on hilly terrain. If the road conditions were good, the Sirarakhong villagers would have been able to earn a hefty profit from exporting the aromatic and blood red chillies and it would have created an economic boom in the village. But the transportation costs and hours had eaten into their profits. On the other hand, they are not being supported by the state government although a few NGOs help them. The village is yet to have a mechanised processing unit which could have helped in the drying process. And they are still relying on traditional methods which are time consuming and a lot of firewood is needed, which again lead to depletion of forest cover. Because of the poor transport and communication network, the rich harvest of fine potatos, squashes and cabbages rot in the villages and they sell the vegetables in gunny bags to occasional travellers at a pitiable price. Manipur is importing various ranges of seasonal vegetables from Assam and flooding the supply line at Nagamapal road, while the vegetable produce of the hills rot in the hill ranges. This is simply unthinkable. If we are to improve the road conditions and transport and communication network, the hill villages would be able to export fresh vegetables outside the district and the state. We have stated in the past, the need for constructing a chain of cold storage plants and mini processing units in the hill areas. For lack of cold storage and processing plants, the lemon produce of Kachai village in Ukhrul and oranges in Tamenglong are rotting on the ground. These are some of the ideas which could provide a much needed fillip to the hill economy. Yet, our leaders both in the hills and the valley are content with a yearly ritual of festivals sometimes adorned with beauty contests. Such festivals are indeed a mockery of the economic potential of the hills of Manipur. Besides politics, the leaders of hills both elected and self appointed, need to focus their attention to the huge economic possibilities lying unexplored and neglected.
Photography Credit and Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Siroi hills/ Shirui hills ranges in the Ukhrul District of Manipur, India, at an elevation of 1730m–2590m above sea level. Picture speaks itself the beauty of the Siroy Hill
Kankhui Cave – Sculpted by Nature – Ukhrul Manipur Photography Copyright: Rashingam Ngoruh Khangkhui Cave is a remarkable natural lime- stone cave located at Ukhrul, Manipur, India. The big hall in the cave is the darbar hall of the Devil … Continue reading
Unique Manipur Yaoshang Sports – Bor Keina Competition – 2013 Photography and Credit: Loyangamba Khundongbam All types of sports are held during Yaoshang Sports meet at Manipur or different parts of the world for women, men and children namely Chaphu … Continue reading
View of Manipur Valley during evening time Photography Credit and Copyright: Moirangthem Ranjit This is the valley where we live. Surrounded on all sides by mountains and hills, once upon a time, this valley was submerged underwater. All waters were … Continue reading
Manipuri Meitei Association Bangalore – Yaoshang Sports Meet – 2013 – Bangalore The Annual Yaoshang Sports Meet, 2013 at Bangalore organized by Manipuri Meitei Association Bangalore was held on Sunday, 24 March at Country Club Lakeside, Attibele Hobli. 350 plus … Continue reading