IMPHAL, November 17: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, today inaugurated an auditorium dedicated to King of Manipur, Maharaja Chandrakirti, on the concluding day of “Folk Dance and Music Festival” jointly organised by the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Manipur and North East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur.
The inaugural event of the auditorium was also attended by Chairman Manipur Tribal Development Corporation (MTDC), T Manga Vaiphei as the function president while Art and Culture Commissioner, Dr RK Nimai, and Dr K. Sobita, director of Art and Culture were the guests of honour.
The construction of the auditorium started in the year 2001 however due to fund constraint the much awaited auditorium of the Art and Culture Department was delayed.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Okram, Ibobi Singh, held that the new auditorium is a ray of hope for young talents of the state.
Dwelling on the potentials of Manipur, he said that art and culture, and sports are the two areas that have shown the credibility of the state time to time. Considering this facts the Government is exploring every avenue to develop these areas, he added.
Claiming that arts and culture, and sports are co-related, he observed that through tourism the extraordinary talents need to be exposed. For this the tourism department has been developing every possible tourist destination.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister made a clarification on a news report claiming that Rs 45 crores have been sanctioned for repairing and maintenance of upcoming Manipur Sangai Festival.
“I was shocked that how on earth Manipur can spend Rs 45 crores on a ten-day long festival,” exclaimed the Chief Minister.
He disclosed that the expenditure incurred in Sangai Festival 2012 was Rs 184 lakh and the increase in expenditure this year is expected to be about Rs 40 Lakhs. He revealed that the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned Rs 50 lakhs, Rs 25 lakhs from NEC (anticipated), Rs 150 lakhs from State Plan and totaling Rs 225 lakhs.
With foreign delegates coming to participate in the upcoming festival he suggested the works minister to repair strategic roads which were in bad shape, leading to festival.
An expenditure statement made available to media indicated that improvement works have been taken for Hapta Kangjeibung. Though the new projects for 2013-14 under the SPA totals up to Rs five crores, only Rs three crores have been earmarked for this year due to fund constraint.
The estimates for maintenance and cleaning of RIMS Road leading upto Shija Hospital Rs 20 lakhs, Hapta Kangjeibung to JNIMS road Rs 20 lakhs, MU road Rs 15 lakhs and Imphal to Moirang road Rs 20 lakh.
On the other hand, an estimate of Rs 30 lakhs for beautification and painting of median and others have been prepared and the job will be carried out under PWD and PDA.
However, the chief minister claimed that the repair work of Airport to M Sector is a periodical work sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Road and Surface Transport, and the estimate has been put at Rs 15.95 crores and was not definitely related with Sangai festival.
At the same time, he also clarified that repair along Uripok-Kangchup road was taken up under SPA work for the year 2012-13 amounting to Rs 6.42 crores.
The statement further mentioned that the total expenditure, which will be borne by different department, ranging from transportation to accommodation of guests has been kept at Rs 227.17 lakh.
Henglep MLA, T Manga Vaiphei, divulged that the construction work of the auditorium was started in 2001 under then District Council Engineering Cell and eventually merged to MTDC in 2009.
The auditorium incorporates a workshop cum dormitory, Art gallery, Administration block and other structures.
After the end of the inaugural function the Chief Minister along with Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker Th Lokeshore; Works Minister, Kh Ratan; Parliamentary secretary of Tourism, M Prithiviraj also inspected the venue of Sangai festival which is under construction.
As a part of the valedictory function of the “Folk Dance and Music Festival”, the Chief Minister also presented NECC awards 2012-13, to three artistes of Manipur with cash prizes of Rs 10,000, citation and shawl each.
The awardees (pung artists) were Yumnam Bhumeshor of Langmeidong, Moirangthem Khometon Sing of Thoubal and Paonam Bhogen Singh of Yurembam.
The festival was attended by 120 artistes from different part of the North eastern state including Sikkim.