Reaching out to the hill people The Ukhrul package

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Economic package of Rs 201 crore for Ukrhul district. Five days State level Siroi Lily festival from May 5. Immediate repair of roads at Ukhrul town. Setting aside 10th of every month to meet hill based NGOs, CSOs, village chiefs etc. Clearly Chief Minister N Biren is stretching his hands out to reach to the hill people and these slew of announcements could not have come at a better place than Ukhrul district headquarters during his official visit to the district on April 11. Literally speaking the red carpet was rolled out for the Chief Minister and his men and this was in stark contrast to the time when O Ibobi was greeted with gun fire when he landed there some time in 2016 to inaugurate the Ukhrul district hospital and power sub-stations. Significant to note too that Chief Minister N Biren went by road all the way from Imphal to Ukhrul for his first official visit and he must have had a first hand account of the places which he passed through on his way to the district headquarters. Something which no Minister had done in the 15 years that the Congress was in power here. Not that the Congress should be held solely responsible for this, for remember when the Congress was in power here, the hill people, particularly the Nagas of Manipur, were a hostile lot and it would not have been feasible for any Minister back then to travel by road to, say Ukhrul district headquarters.
So from bullets and gun shots to bouquets and certainly the sea change is profoundly noticeable. It is early days yet, but the BJP led Government seems to be treading the right path and the announcement that a State level Siroi Lily festival will now be held comes like a breath of fresh air. Hopefully it will be an annual affair and Manipur can look forward to not only the Sangai festival but also the Siroi Lily festival. This measure will certainly be a move in the right direction to convince the Naga CSOs to stop boycotting the Sangai festival, which they have been doing for the last many years. Festivals in the name of the State animal and State flower is fitting and this is something which should be acknowledged by all. Moreover the announcement that a day will be set aside for hill based NGOs, CSOs, village chiefs etc on the 10th of every month is laudable. Hope the Chief Minister is able to create a conducive climate for the hill people to present their case to the Government succinctly. So far, the move of the Chief Minister seems to be on the right track, and this is all the more reason to surround himself with well meaning people and not chamchas, who will only say what he wants to hear.

Source: The Sangai Express

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