Senapati, May 22: The two-day long Barak Spring Festival, tagged as ‘the biggest river carnival of Manipur,’ was opened by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh at Senapati today.
At the opening function, Biren Singh officially kicked off the festival by lighting the holy fire at the Senapati Mini Stadium Ground, the venue of the event.
Chief minister N Biren stated that the invitation from the organizers to attend the event came as a very pleasant surprise as he is constantly worried about strain in relationship between people from hills and valley, between different communities in hills and those in valley. However, participating together in such festival is capable of easing past tension and help in accelerating the improvement of relationship between all communities, he asserted.
The chief minister made a proposal for making the Barak Spring Festival into a state festival and urged the organizers to accept the participation of the state government in hosting it in the future. He further announced a sum of Rs 50 lakhs for this year’s festival from the state’s coffer.
Biren also made announcement of several welfare measures for the hill districts during his address. Among them was the construction of a women market shed in Senapati for which the state government will be allocating a sum of Rs 10 crore. Biren promised the implementation of water supply schemes in the hill areas of Manipur to alleviate the issue of fetching drinking water there and intensive work to repair the Imphal-Mao national highway.
He also announced that martial arts fighter and champion of Super Fight League Kario Isaac who is a native of Karong in Senapati district will be rewarded with a post of sub inspector in the state police department for his success.
Deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar said the occasion was a very inspirational and emotional moment for him personally as he has fond memories of Senapati. Experiencing the local dances and music and folklores at the festival will bring emotional integration among different communities, he said and inferred that with the newfound understanding the state will be able to march forward.
Earlier in the day, soaked in the Barak Festival spirit, thousands of people of the district were seen in traditional attire anxiously waiting for the Chief Minister to arrive in the district headquarters to open the event. Upon his arrival, Biren Singh was presented with traditional shawls of five main Naga tribes of Senapati and also different varieties of vegetables and fruits. Folk songs and dances were performed by representatives from the five Naga tribes during the opening event of the celebration.
PHED minister L Dikho, Tribal Affairs and Hills minister N Kayisii, Parliamentary Secretaries, MLAs and top civil and police officials were present on the occasion. The spring festival will showcase the rich traditions and culture of the different tribes nurtured by the Barak. Some of the highlights of the festival are comedy shows, Barak Melody, Talent Hunt concerned with ecological and environment, trekking and various contests.