By R Lester Makang
UKHRUL, May 15: For the first time in its history, the colourful festivities of Shirui Lily Week 2014 unfolded in the august presence of the Governor of Manipur VK Duggal who inaugurated the week long observance on Thursday at Shirui village Playground, some 15 kms away from Ukhrul district headquarters.
Held each year under the theme “Celebrating Shirui Lily,” the weeklong festival aims to showcase the magnificence of the unique lily while also creating awareness of its preservation in the face of growing threat from man-made damages of its natural habitat.
Save for the sudden downpour amid traditional folk dance presentations by Sihai Khullen and Somra dance troupes, the opening function went on well drawing thousands of crowd to the Shirui locality.
However, due to inclemency, the venue had to be shifted to a community hall and subsequently some items had to be cancelled for the day.
Gracing the opening ceremony as the chief guest here today, Governor VK Duggal shared his feelings of elation at being invited to be part of the celebration.
He said that if Shirui Lily is properly introduced to the outside world, tourists from the world over could be attracted to Shirui village.
Continuing with his speech, Duggal, however, expressed a bit of his concern that the lily is facing threat of diminishing bloom due to unplanned deforestation at Shirui hills.
“Unless intervention is sought in time, it is not only Shirui Lily but all the other flora and fauna that will be lost forever,” he said while urging the denizens of the district to preserve the rich Shirui forest.
Speaking at the occasion, TNL president Artax A Shimray highlighted various concerns about the degrading biodiversity of Shirui wilderness. He then revealed that the government of India has sanctioned Rs. 5 crore for the preservation of the district’s richest rain forest.
Meanwhile, headmen of Shirui Ato and Shirui Aze villages submitted a memorandum to the Governor for redressal of various grievances endured by the inhabitants of the two villages in the face of continued negligence by the government on all fronts.
A Mini marathon was flagged off by president Artax Shimray from TNL Ground. It concluded at the Shirui.
Various other eye catching displays like choreography, traditional fashion parade, musical shows from different corners of the district were the piece de resistance of today’s entertainment event.
The weeklong celebration will bring up interesting items like pork eating contest, Kachek shooting competition, live concert, stand-up comedy etc. Essay and drawing competitions for school students in connection with the festival will also be held. It will conclude with a flower show on May 21.
The dignitaries present at the function included RK Nimai secy to Governor; Ram Muivah, principal secy, works; Modak Hrisheekesh, Ukhrul DC; Brig P Pandey, DIG, 10 Sector AR; Col Gaurav Bose, CO 41 AR, Somsai and Dr Zareh director Science &Technology, Nagaland.