By: Anthony Gangmei
Tamenglong, Dec. 11: With an aim to showcase the world the Unique taste of Tamenglong Oranges, Manipur’s most backward albeit picturesque Zeliangrong community inhabited Tamenglong district which is said to be the state’s orange orchard witnessed the 14th edition of state level Orange festival recently under the theme “Oranges” The Tamenglong’s Pride.
Tamenglong happens to be the largest producer of oranges in Manipur. Using oranges as a good reason to bring more business and boost the tourism of the district, every year the Orange Festival is held in Tamenglong during the month of December where participants come from the nook and corner of the Tamenglong district. The Orange Festival is organised every year with the aim of promoting the largest produced fruit of the district.
Tamenglong contributes over 50 per cent of the state’s annual total orange production of nearly 10,000 to 11,000 metric tons. Around 3,838 hectares of land are under orange cultivation in Manipur. According to the experts, another advantage of the regular holding of orange festival in the region is that it helps in minimizing the large scale of jhumming cultivation in Manipur.
The first ever Orange festival was held in 2001 as a district level festival to promote tourism and provide an opportunity for orange farmers to display their produce before potential buyers. The festival of the district became a state level fest in 2005.
Unlike the previous year this year the 14th State level Orange Festival was held for 5 (Five) days long starting from 6-10 of December at Lower Ground in Tamenglong District jointly organised by the District Administration and the public of Tamenglong. “Tour de Tamenglong” 150km cycle rally, seminars, musical concert, indegenous games, orange eating competition and Orange Queen contest were some of the major events during this 5(Five) days long festival.
Three days witnessed the seminars which is first of its kind is conducted during the orange festival, in which it gives an insight knowledge to the farmers about the importance and potentials of oranges from various experts and government departments. On the first day of seminar Horticulture department of Tamenglong and a team of ICAR scientist talks about the present orange status in Tamenglong and its perspective, potential and problems faced by the oranges farmers from Tamei and Tamenglong District.
On the second day experts and government officials from DRDA, Disaster Management Authority and TAMBAC (Tamenglong Bamboo and Cane Development Centre) holds a serious discussion about the present status of development in the Tamenglong town area, disaster management and its preparedness and tourism perspective and its potential in Tamenglong area.
On the final day of the seminar, 3-Ps (problems, projects and potentials) of various developmental projects and its impact were minutely discussed by the experts from Indian Railways Department, ADP (Group) HCC. National Highways and Industrial Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) also makes a presentation on the various projects being implemented in the national highways of Tamenglong District. Rain Forest club of Tamenglong also make a presentation of Environmental impact in our day to day life.
Padma Shri awardee, Kailash Kher an Indian pop-rock and Bollywood playback singer bring cheers to the crowd of Tamenglong by presenting his various hit numbers. In a exclusive interview with Kailash Kher, he said he is excited and happy to be part of this festival. He loves the people of Tamenglong and has an immensed respect for the DC of Tamenglong Armstrong Pame.
Apart from being a platform for traders to meet and improve trade relations this year the festival see various competitions and cultural extravaganzas, including orange eating competition, best orange competition, seminar for orange growers, indigenous games and sports. This year the organising committee gives a lots of importance to the orange farmers. The prize for the best orange producer carried a cash reward of Rs. 2 lakh and a citation certificate, and Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 75,000 along with a citation certificate each, was awarded for the second and third position, respectively. Each particiapants also gets a sum of Rs 7000 as consolation prize. The prize money given so far is highest till date. This year due to bad weather most of the program was conducted at Indoor Stadium, and despite the bad weather huge crowd turned up on the closing function of the State level orange festival 2017.
One of the major attractions of the festival is the Orange Beauty Queen contest where girls from all over the state come to participate but due to the bad weather condition the much awaited Orange Queen contest was postponed on 13th December. Today, the Orange Festival is one of the major tourist attractions of Manipur. So let us all celebrate this festival together to boost socio-cultural activity as well as to bring peace and unity in the state of Manipur.