IMPHAL, December 9: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today acknowledged that Tamenglong district alone contributes 70 percent of the State’s total orange production, and said this has been made possible only due to the joint effort of the farmers, Horticulture department and DRDA.
The Chief Minister while appealingto the stakeholders to put in more efforts to accelerate orange production in the State, said the State government has asked the experts of Central Agriculture University and ICAR to help increase Orange production in the State.
The Chief Minister was speaking as the chief guest after inaugurating the 12th State-level Orange Festival at the Lower Ground in Tamenglogn district.
The festival is being held under the theme ‘Peace and Prosperity’ at Lower Ground in Tamenglong district today.
The Chief Minister said that the government recognizes the potential of horticulture crops in the hill areas particularly orange cultivation.
He said that the Orange Festival was first celebrated in 2001 on a modest scale but today the festival has grown into a State level festival.
It is making a very positive impact on the cause of orange cultivation in Tamenglong district and the State as well, he said.
Ever since the inception of the festival, there has been a wave of revival of orange cultivation and production in the district, he said.
He envisaged that there will be positive changes in Tamenglong district after the completion of Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway project.
All the district headquarters will be equipped with cold storage to facilitate working of farmers, the CM declared, adding that the government is making earnest effort to improve the power condition in the State.
He also said that government has made necessary preparation to set up bank branch and police outpost in 27 Blocks where there is no banking facility.
During the celebration, Ibobi also released ‘The Tamenglong Times’, a bilingual daily published in English and Rongmei dialect.
Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhnangam who was also present at the occasion as the chief host said that imposition of ban on various national projects in Tamenglong district has hindered development work in the district.
He hoped that Tamenglong district will become one of the fastest growing districts after the successful completion of national projects being taken up in the district.
Asserting that the people are well aware of the successful work of the ongoing Jiri-Tupul-Imphal railway line, Gaikhangam who is also the Home minister said that construction work of Imphal-Kangchup-Haochong-Tamenglong Road has already been started under the funding of ADB.
Construction work of Tamenglong-Haflong Road is in the pipeline, he said, adding that works of Loktak Downstream Project had already been commenced.
Saying that the taste of orange grown in Tamenglong district is peculiar as compared to those from other places, the Dy CM exuded confidence that economy of the State can be boosted if orange production in the district is accelerated and made available in the international market on a larger scale.
A total of 305 orange stalls were opened in the festival. First, second and third orange producers in the festival were awarded with a cash prize of Rs 1.50 lakh, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 75, 000 respectively along with citation.
Sericulture and Commerce & Industries Minister Govindas Konthoujam; RD & PR Minister Francis Ngajokpa; Works & Transport Minister Dr Kh Ratankumar; Deputy Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly MK Preshow Shimray; Chairman of HAC Dr Chaltonlien Amo; Vice-Chairman Z Kikhonbou Newmai and MLA Tamenglong Constituency Janghemlung Panmei were also present at the celebration function as guests of honour.
Meanwhile, volunteers of Zeliangrong Baudi and Zeliangrong Youth Front burnt effigies of Chief Minister O Ibobi and Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam in condemnation of Orange Festival celebration.