Yes, the first State level Shirui Lily Festival has got off to a grand start and all credits for this should obviously go to the State Flower, the BJP led State Government and the hospitality of the people of Ukhrul and Shirui village. No wonder, all roads today lead to Ukhrul district headquarters, Shirui village and Phangrei, the site earmarked for the camping and trekking expedition of the Shirui Lily Festival, which started on May 16 and will go on till May 20. Chief Minister N Biren also managed to touch the right chord with the people in recalling how the Shirui Lily Festival celebration at the State level came to be announced during his first visit to Ukhrul as the Chief Minister on April 11 this year. More than just a recall, for the anecdote which the Chief Minister narrated to the people gathered for the Festival at Vangayan at the lower half of Shirui Kashong, had the touch of the humaneness and the sublime. It was the tale of how a young group of people had come to him to urge the Government to release Rs 3 lakh which were due for hosting the Shirui Lily Festival at the village/district level for the past two years, which prompted the Chief Minister to announce that the Shirui Lily Festival would be held at the State level from this year. In one statement, N Biren was able to deliver the message that the BJP led Government is able to recognise the uniqueness of the State Flower, which the previous Governments failed to do. It must have surely gone a long way in striking up a chord with the people who had gathered for the Shirui Lily Festival on Day I and in doing that he was also able to deliver the point that the BJP led Government is here to make a difference. This is political acumen at its best, one would say.
The drizzle, which has not stopped even at the time of writing this commentary (May 17 evening), has literally turned the road at Ukhrul into “mud streams” and the TNL ground into a “mud pond”, but this has not dampened the spirit of the people in taking part in the festival, as evidenced by the number of vehicles going from Imphal to Ukhrul for the festival. This is an opportunity which the State Government should not lose and also equally important for all the civil society organisations. There is however some points which the State Government should seriously look into when the next edition of the Festival comes. May being the month during which the Shirui Lily blooms at Shirui Kashong, changing the date of the festival may not be advisable so the rain would be inevitable. However there is definitely something which the State Government may consider to ease the traffic flow from Shirui village to the foothills of Shirui Kashong and towards Phangrei. A spacious parking space may be worked out outside the periphery of Shirui village, probably somewhere near the village Church. From there all those coming to participate may be asked to walk on foot till Vangayan. For those going to Phangrei, they may be stopped at the entry point of the village and after verifying where they are headed may be asked to proceed where another parking lot may be arranged at the foothills of Phangrei. Trained personnel may be put into service to monitor the movement of vehicles, not only at Shirui but also at Ukhrul during the festival. Some suggestions that come to mind.
Source: The Sangai Express