The good and the bad of the Sangai Festival. Fortunately not much can be said about the ugly part of the festival this year. This much is true of the biggest State festival in Manipur and come 2018, Manipur will once again be hosting the same festival, which it has done so at the State level since 2010. Maybe the tenth anniversary of the festival next year will mean something good for everyone. What stood out in this year’s edition of the festival was the North East Development Summit which was held to co-incide with the festival on November 21 and 22. It however remains to be seen how much benefit the State is able to tap from the 41 MoUs signed during the two day business summit.
This is where the Government will need to put its best foot forward for signing MoUs and actually getting all the parties concerned to invest in the State are two different things. Time will tell how effective the BJP led Government is on this count, that is throwing open the doors of the State to outside investors. What promises to add more colour to the festival next year was the announcement of Chief Minister N Biren that the Cherry Blossom Festival held at Mao will be included as part of the Sangai Festival.
Another good point that stood out was the decision to hold the festival at different venues, such as Khuman Lampak, Lamboi Khongnangkhong, Takmu Water Sports Complex and Hapta Kangjeibung where the Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre is also located. This certainly went some way in addressing the traffic chaos that engulfed Imphal whenever the Sangai Festival was held earlier. So far this is the good part of the festival and this is a welcome change from the earlier editions, when news of domestic LPG cylinders being used at the food stalls of the festival venue made it big in all the dailies published in Imphal.
Certainly, the festival seems to have moved from the days when school vans could be seen entering the venue of the festival with VIP passes. The days of serving meat of protected wild animals at some of the food stalls also seems to be history now. However as some things never change, the VIPsm at the festival venue continued to cast a long shadow. Traffic chaos continued to reign at roads of Imphal, particularly along Kanglapat, Khoyathong, Keishampat, Nagamapal just to name a few every evening and while this is a good sign that the festival is a big hit with the people, it also says something profound about traffic management and the civic sense of all the people behind the wheels. How successful has the festival been in bringing the people closer to one another is another question that may be raised. And how successful has the festival been in attracting tourists from outside the State.
How much interest has the festival been able to stir ? How about publicity ? Were attempts made to reach out to the media in other parts of the country or at least to the North East based media houses to publicise the festival or was the State Government satisfied with only reaching out to the Imphal based media ? How was the food quality served at a steep price inside the festival ? These are all questions, but questions which the State Government should ponder over, now that the festival is over.
Source: The Sangai Express