Sangai tourism festival began today at Imphal’s Hapta Kangjeibung with high hopes of attracting tourists during the 10 day long festival. However, problem of demonetisation, economic blockade sponsored by the United Naga Council and skyrocketing prices essential commodities cast a long shadow on the success of this year’s annual festival.
The serial blasts on the eve of the festival that left a non-local dead and three security personnel wounded also dampened the spirit of the festival.
Governor Najma Heptulla inaugurated the festival in the presence of chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, ambassador of Japan to India Kenji Hiramatsu and chief minister of Chin state of Myanmar U. Salai Luai at Bheigyachandra Open Air Theatre in Imphal.
Concerned with the prevailing situation in Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh dwelt at length on the “unrealistic” demands made by communities in Manipur.
The inaugural programe was attended by Gaikhangam, Deputy CM, O. Ibobi Chief Minister. U SalaiLuai CM of Chin state government, Myanmar, Kenji Hiramatsu Ambassador of Japan to India. During the ceremonial speech, U SalaiLuai CM of Chin state government, Myanmar invited people pof Manipur to visit the Chin state and expressed his heartfelt gratitude for providing healthcare facilities every year by government of India.
Kenji Hiramatsu Ambassador of Japan to India, said “There’s a bond which has engraved since the Second World War. Imphal is remembered dearly by the Japanese people and have been on our mind.”
Ibobi said, “Sangai Festival showcases Manipur to the entire world but due to bandh and blockade it has been organised with great difficulty at the same time it hampered tourist attraction. Due to this reason a negative message has always been sent out which is quite unfortunate for us. We should join hands to bring peace and one day the world will realise the goodwill spirit of Manipur.”
Further he emphasized, “Organisations in the hill and valley are dreaming impossible dreams. The land areas are belong to government. Therefore I would like to appeal to all to join hands to stay united.”
“Sangai Festival is the small exhibition of deep cultural root of the history of Manipur,” said Governor Najma Heptulla during the Chief Guest speech.
There are 198 stalls, displaying handloom, promotion, handicrafts, food courts, plants.
Eighteen of them are from Thailand and three from South Africa.
There are other different tourist attractions like Imphal war museum 1944, Sangai art gallery, Thailand pavilion, digital potable planetarium, heritage park which have 17 different types of heritage houses and an adventure park organised by MMTA which consists of seven adventure sports.
Most of the stalls accept the old Rs 500 and 1000 but on certain conditions which they have to buy for the whole amount due to lack of changes.
The ticket rate is Rs 25 for adult and Rs 15 for student. But the ticket counter did not accept the old Rs 500 and 1000 note. Official said ATM swap machine may be coming tomorrow for the convenience of the people.
Security in the area had been very tightened with CCTV surveillance covering the venue. Traffic system had been regulated.
Many of the visitors felt inconvenience because of the present currency crises. A visitor who is around 60 told the media that he had walk a long distance due to security reasons.
Source: Imphal Free Press