Sangai Festival begins with fanfare and gaiety amidst general strike.
In his address, President Ram Nath Kovind stated that Sangai Festival is the perfect showcase for the cultural diversity and richness of Manipur, comprising various communities and beautiful social fabric. He added that Manipur is a paradise for tourists, a place that needs to be experienced at leisure.
Besides the natural beauty and rich cultural tradition of the state, President Ram Nath Kovind lauded the history of resilience and courage of the people in the state. He greeted the martyrs of Anglo Manipur War 1891, such as Bir Tikendrajit and his comrades, as heroes who will always be remembered for their contribution in the fight against colonialism and for human liberty.
Further, he added that the Second World War relics in Manipur have the potential for attracting international tourists from the West as well from country like Japan.
The President of India also commended the contributions that Manipur has made in the field of sports, in the past as well as in the present. He reiterated his twitter on Mary Kom’s achievement at the Asian Boxing Championship 2017 as such, “You make us prouder with every punch.” Furthermore, he applauded the determined spirit of eight of the 21 members of Indian World Cup team from Manipur.
Underscoring the state’s contribution and potential, he even hailed Manipur as the “capital of Indian sport”—a treasure that must be shared with the world.
On the development sector, President Ram Nath Kovind emphasised that Manipur is India’s window to Southeast Asia and a key player in Indian government’s Act East Policy. In this light, he mentioned that there is a concentrated effort to quickly develop connectivity projects in the state, namely: the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, plan for an air cargo terminal complex at Imphal International Airport, enhancement of rail links, and Union ministry of Civil Aviation’s plan for affordable air links in the region, particularly in Manipur.
The President also extended his greetings to the government of Manipur for the efforts undertaken to promote the tourism potential of Manipur.
The Presidents’ address was greeted with a round of applause by the attending delegates and the crowd. But it was his remark that he will be returning to Delhi with enough quantities of Manipuri black rice that touched the heart of the audience.
Manipur’s governor, Najma Heptullah, speaking at the inaugural function said she was very fortunate to be given the chance to serve as the first woman governor of the state, where women’s right to empowerment is highly regarded.
“World’s largest women market is in Manipur. I feel very proud to be a first women governor in the land of women empowered state, Manipur,” she exclaimed.
Many years back Manipur was known for law and order problem than its beauty, she said adding that with changing scenario people from other part of India and countries start exploring its unknown and hidden qualities.
Manipur’s chief minister, N. Biren said that the Northeast states can work together on the idea of a pan North East Tourism Circuit.
The chief minister thanked minister of state for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha for announcing to start Imphal-Delhi direct flight service twice a week from January next year.
He also expressed confidence that the Udaan scheme would be accorded a high priority to promote the concept of North east Tourist Circuit.
He expressed hope that under the dynamic leader of Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) K Alphons, the State would soon realise its true potential in tourism sector.
He said that the State government would approach the Union Tourism ministry with some projects including overall tourism development of Loktak area, cable car projects and development of wellness centres and strengthening of tourism infrastructure in the hills of the State.
With formation of the new government in the State there is a growing feeling of optimism and heightened expectation in the minds of public, he maintained while adding that the State government, therefore, decided to scale up Manipur Sangai Festival into a mega event for showcasing the tourism potentials of the State.
Another unique feature in this edition of the festival is the showcase of culture, art forms, cuisine, handloom and handicrafts of our partner States of Madhya Pradesh and Nagaland under the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.
He further asserted that the presence of President Ramnath Kovind would be remembered as a red letter day, for this is the day when the State has witnessed such a large number of luminaries, be it from the field of politics or business, and which will eventually lead to ushering in an era of peace and development in the State.
Colourfult cultural presentations were also showcased before the capacity crowd that included many distinguished dignitaries, foreign delegates and tourists.
The President was joined on the dais by the first lady, Savita Kovind, Union minister for tourism, KJ Alphons, Manipur governor, Najma Heptulla, chief minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh, chief minister of Nagaland, T.R. Zeliang, and chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu.
Source: Imphal Free Press