Luira Phanit kicks off

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Feb 13: With great pomp and glamour, the three days festival for the Tangkhul community, Luira Phanit, kick started at Khangkhui Khunou, Ukhrul district, yesterday.
Titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba hoisted a ceremonial flag at the start of the event, which was sponsored by the International Peace and Social Advancement (IPSA).
Speaking as the chief guest at the gathering, Sanajaoba said that Khangkhui Khunou has great historical significance for both the tribes and the Meitei and added that according to legend and stories, the first human came out of Khangkhu Surung (cave).
It is always said that the people of the hills and the valley are brothers and sisters and there are lots of similarities in rituals and ceremonies between the Tangkhuls and the Meitei, he said.
Sanajaoba then stressed on the importance of the people to protect and preserve their culture, traditions and rituals.
The bond between the hills and the valley must also be safeguarded at all costs, he said adding that it is important for both parties to solve every problems peacefully and bring collective development instead of fighting with one another uselessly.
On the other hand, IPSA president Joychandra Konthoujam said that  it is high time for all the communities residing in Manipur to come together for bringing prosperity to the State.
Expressing desire for the Government to convert Khangkhui cave to a historical site, he said that it is imperative for the communities to come together in this regard.
He then urged the people to inform IPSA if any shortcomings are found in development activities in and around Khangkhui Khun area, adding that IPSA will do everything in its power to put pressure on the Government.
The IPSA president also wished the people on the auspicious occasion.
Speaking at the event, Chief Conservator of Forest Thiyam Mohendra Pratap Singh said that the active participation in the festival by both tribes and valley people shows the unity between the communities.
He then said that the State Government has signed an MoU with KfW, a German firm, for taking up a project in the State designed for long term protection of the water resource and forest covers of Manipur and necessary preparations have already begun for the said project.
Stating that the project will also cover Khangkhui Khun, he said that it will promote the livelihood of the locals apart from providing employment opportunities as well.
ICHAM advisor N Rajendro, MCS officer A Shivadas Sharma, Veikhang Hangva Wungnao Long president Law Khathing, social worker Wairokpam Ratan and other officials were also present at the event which featured many cultural performances like Tangkhul songs and dance, Khamba Thoibi Jagoi, Maibi Jagoi and Thang Ta etc.