IMPHAL, November 23: Chief Minister O Ibobi said the commencement of international flights in Manipur will open up a lot of opportunities for development of tourism, trade and business with neighbouring countries especially Myanmar and Thailand.
He was speaking during the inauguration of 7th Manipur Polo International at Mapal Kangjeibung today.
He said regular international flight services from Imphal airport will start shortly. “This will open up lot of opportunities for development of Manipur items of tourism, trade and business avenues with neighbouring countries especially Myanmar and Thailand. Necessary steps for establishment of customs and immigration facilities and other formalities are being followed up on war-footing,’ the chief minister said.
“Sagol Kangjei, which is now known as Polo has been played in Manipur since time immemorial. We are indebted to our forefathers who has handed over to us this game which has become a popular game of the present world. The game has been played on the original Manipuri pony, one of the five species identified by the Government of India. This Manipuri Pony, our Meitei sagol, is the most sacred of all animals in Manipur. Of late the population of the original Polo pony has been alarmingly decreased in Manipur. The state government has initiated the establishment of an exclusive sanctuary for the Manipuri pony to save it from extinction. The polo fraternity all over the world will surely appreciate this initiation,” he said.
In recognition of the role this illustrious but threatened animal has played in the history, religion, martial arts, sports, and the arts of Manipur, the Government of Manipur declares the Manipuri Pony as an endangered breed, to be honored, protected and preserved for future generations in Manipur, India and the world, the chief minister said.
Next year is the 150th anniversary of the first Polo match played between Manipur and a Calcutta team at Calcutta in 1864. To commemorate the anniversary, it is contemplated that a grand Manipur Polo International 2014 will be celebrated here in Imphal in next year, the chief minister said.
The inaugural function started with a group cultural dance on the theme Blooming Flower performed by around 150 artists. The opening match was played between Germany and USA however USA defeated Germany by 10-4.