By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Dec 2: With a glittering closing ceremony, the Manipur Sangai Festival 2019 came to an end at BOAT here this evening.
Governor Dr Najma Heptulla and Chief Minister N Biren graced the closing ceremony as chief guest and president respectively.
Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Dr Najma Heptulla stated that the Manipur Sangai Festival which showcases the natural beauty of Manipur, its rich cultural heritage, diverse handloom and handicraft products is a key component of the collective endeavour to promote the State’s tourism industry.
The festival provides an opportunity for policy makers, industry experts, business delegates, artists and exhibitors from other States and countries to gather here at Imphal and other places of the State, Dr Najma said.
Manipur is undoubtedly a beautiful State and it has immense potential for development as a popular tourist destination. However, Manipur is known for its volatile law and order situation rather than for its pristine beauty, she lamented.
Nonetheless, the number of domestic as well as international tourists has been rising since the last few years as law and order situation has improved significantly, she said.
Tourism industry is the fastest growing sector and its economic multiplication factor is the highest. Marketing is the key but Manipur seems to have faltered in this regard, the Governor observed.
What a tourist needs is not a five star hotel but a basic clean, hygienic and affordable accommodation. The concerned agencies of the State Government should inspect the hotels and other places of stay regularly to ensure that they are maintained at a minimum standard of hygiene and cleanliness, she said. Further, the civic authorities and the people should make Manipur a much cleaner State with clean roads etc, she continued. She then appealed to all the people of the State, specially civil society organisations to extend their fullest cooperation to make this calendar event (Sangai Festival) a grand success rather than avoiding it.
Notably, the COCOMI boycotted this year’s Sangai Festival as a part of their mass protest movement against any possible negative impact of Naga solution on Manipur.
The number of people who came to the festival on the opening day at BOAT was very low although the number of visitors increased very slowly in the subsequent days.
Even though the festival was scheduled to conclude on November 30, it was extended by two days.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Chief Minister N Biren said that the Sangai Festival is not only for the Government but also for the people of Manipur.
“The festival is aimed at promoting Manipur as a popular tourist destination. But the way our people treat visitors from other States and countries has turned out to be a serious setback”, Biren rued.
“The whole world is now seen as a global village. If we cannot adapt to these global dynamics, we will never be able to march forward”, he said.
There are problems everywhere and problems are not something specific to the State. But one should not expose one’s problems before visitors or guests, asserted the Chief Minister. Manipur Sangai Festival is not a only platform to showcase the State’s tourism potential. It is also an effective platform to strengthen the unity of Manipur, he said.
It is undesirable for some organisations to mislead the masses after overlooking all these facts, Biren continued.
One may undertake strikes provided there are valid reasons but creating problems will not solve any issue, Biren said.
He then conveyed gratitude to all Government agencies, private firms and the public who took active roles towards making the festival a success.
The festival culminated with a cultural performance titled Hingminashi Eikhoi.
Sinam Basu’s choreographic presentation Jewel of India-Manipur was also presented.