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Anathema to progress

by IT Web Admin
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The biggest extravaganza in the state that is Sangai Festival is drawing to a close. It is apparent that the state government, as with every past editions of the event, has spared no expenses or efforts to make it one of a kind affair which could showcase the diverse and amazing forms of arts, culture, traditions, customs and natural endowments to the rest of the world. Yet for all its efforts and self-congratulatory statements, the much anticipated festival remains far short of what its objective states. True, thousands of people throng the venue everyday and enjoyed the various displays and services on offer. But has the state government or the department (s) responsible for organizing the event even thought of estimating the number of visitors from outside the state year-on-year so that a reliable database of the progress or popularity of the festival can be gauged? What about the uncomfortably regular blasts in the vicinity of the venue just before the commencement of the festival? Why hasn’t the government still consider the installation of CCTV cameras in and around the city despite reams of paper being written about the immediate necessity as well as the admission of the ministers to the same. The level of crimes, thefts and other unwanted incidents in and around the small city could have been reduced or avoided had the state government have the balls to implement such a relatively easy yet necessary move. But the unfortunate fact is that despite the absence of such facilities in public places around the city, yet the private and official residences of these VIPs, representatives and officials are jam-packed with the very same facilities. What about the total absence of facilities for the physically challenged people to witness the mega-event? Despite repeated reports regarding the unfortunate oversight for years, there still is no visible impact on the organizers to rectify or address the pressing and very vital issue which should be taken more as a blatant display of the callous and indifferent attitude of the organizers given the fact that incorporating such basic facilities such as ramps, guard rails etc does not entail huge costs. As it is, the state government is keeping the budget of the mega-event a closely guarded secret despite efforts from various quarters to find out the truth which naturally points to the undeniable fact that the festival has become a happy hunting ground for filling their personal coffers by those few who are conducting the whole operations. Court cases regarding allocation of contract work for the festival have also made headlines earlier. Digressing from the stated objective of making the event a platform for accelerating the overall progress of the state, the event has turned into an ignoble exercise of siphoning off huge amounts by the organizers and a feeding frenzy for the smaller fries and unscrupulous contractors whose sole objective is to extract maximum profit out of the tendered works. Spending huge sums in extending invitations to a few foreign dignitaries for a few days each year and rolling out the red carpet will do precious little towards improving the prospects of tourism in the state. If the state government does not take stringent corrective measures and realign the purpose and objective of the festival while making the preparations more transparent, the very intention of hosting the event will be defeated and also carries the inherent danger of bleeding the state of its precious resources.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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