IMPHAL, December 14: The state government is on the look-out for an appropriate cen tre (place) to market the oranges in Tamenglong district, announced Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today before the orange farmers during the 10th State Level Orange Festival 2013 today.
The festival was held at the Longmai (Noney) Common ground under the theme “Orange for Peace and Development” with the Governor of Manipur Dr Ashwini Kumar, as the chief guest and the Chief Minister as the president.
The Governor was accompanied by the first lady of the state.
Assuring all the possible help to the farmers, the CM urged the farmers to be proud of themselves and never be discourage of not being a Government employee.)
The state government is taking active consideration to introduce an extensive package to compensate loss or alternative measure in the event of any natural calamity to ensure huge production of orange, he continued.
He revealed that the authority concerned is already consulting experts on the issue; before adding that shifting cultivation is one of the top components.)
Ibobi also informed that his Government is doing its best in trying to develop the hills at par with the valley; and asserted that works are in full swing under the Inclusive Infrastructure Development of Hill Areas. He said a total sum of Rs 300 crores have been earmarked for the purpose.
Announcing a series of developmental works to be taken up in the district in view of the upcoming railway line that passes through the district, he informed that a guest house cum auditorium would be constructed at Kumji.) Upgrading the Public health sub-centre to rural hospital, posting many specialists doctors in hill districts, an introduction of relevant policy to balm all the shortcomings being faced by the district etc were some of the components, the CM highlighted during his speech.)
Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam also attended the festival as the chief host. Several dignitaries including speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, Th Lokeshore; deputy speaker MK Preshow Shimray; Kangpokpi MLA, Nemcha Kipgen; Tamenglong MLA, Janhemlung Pamei;, HAC vice chairman; Deputy Commissioner of Tamenglong district, Director General of Police Manipur, Sahid Ahmed also attended the festival.)
The Governor congratulated the people of Tamenglong and especially the orange growers and farmers for there initiative to organize this festival for the last so many years.
“The State government deserves congratulations for declaring it as a State Level Festival as far back as the year 2004”, he said.
“As a result, today the Tamenglong orange has become well known throughout the region. Earlier, I am told large quantities of fruits were wasted and also used as animal feed. Now, after the start of this festival, there are more buyers and the farmers are getting remunerative prices”, he said.
The Governor also observed that the problem of marketing has reduced considerably.
“These are positive developments but a lot more needs to be done to improve the economic conditions of the farmers. We are also aware that roads need improvement and so does the water and electricity.”
“Such festivals can help increase the income of farmers, traders, shopkeepers and agriculture labourers. We need to establish farms and factories which can help produce, preserve, package and market the best quality of fruits and farm products.”
I have been informed that the Tamenglong orange is of the Mandarin type and it has many unique characteristics. Because of the distinctive quality of the Tamenglong oranges, efforts need to be made for its registration under the Geographical Indicators with the appropriate authorities so that it is certified and recognized throughout the country, he observed.
“Bandhs, blockades and boycotts of fruit and farm products are anti-farmer. Calls for such disruptions adversely affect the income of poor farmers and ·deny economic and social justice to the families who have put in hard labour for many months to produce these wonderful crops”, the Governor said.
It must be remembered that the daily wage earners have to feed their families… back home, through their meager earnings. Calls for demonstrations and disruption hurt the poor people the most, whereas, it is our first duty to take care of the weak andthe poor, he continued.
My appeal is to all these elements, leaders and organizations, whether over ground or under ground, whether political or non political is to refrain from causing economic loss to farmers and denying the fruits of hard labour to the poor people, he said.
It is the duty of all of us, especially the Government, to ensure that there is all round economic progress and people enjoy full liberty of movement and employment, he said.
Meanwhile, addressing the gathering deputy Chief Minister, Gaikhangam, exhorted the people especially the Tamenglong to embrace work culture and put to an end the culture of Bandh.) Maintaining that development could be brought about only when peace and unity prevail, he urged the people of Tamenglong to seize this opportunity of such event which is the converging ground of state leaders.)
He contended that imposing bandh and blockade only hampers the process of development while before adding the people to learn to accept and spread unity amongst the people.)
Gaikhangam further informed that plans are on the offing to determine the variety of the orange grown in Tamenglong and a name will soon be given to this unique variety.)
Further as a part of the festival the Governor also presented cash incentives to best orange producers of the district.) This year first prize was bagged by Asinna Golmei of Tamenglong ward no. 5 and received a cash award of rupees 1.5 Laks, Kadijang of Longmai part-I walked away with second prize having cash awards of 1 Lakh and Abon Golmei of Khongsang bagged the third position having cash award of rupees 75 thousand. Altogether 225 stalls of oranges were open during the festival.) The programme was marked by colourful performances of cultural troupe from the entire district of the state, musical extravaganza etc. )