The opening of a recreational centre - Kangla Nongpok Torban - next to Sanjenthong bridge along the Imphal River in the heart of Imphal city recently has brought a new taste of life to the people living in and around the capital city. The place is fast becoming a favourite recreational hub in a state like Manipur where there is little place for recreation and entertainment. However, while the recreation centre is a much-needed rejuvenating destination for young and old and visitors to the place were delighted to see the place, some were of the view that the entry fee should be relaxed for senior citizens. They felt that the entry charge would deter many people from visiting the place regularly.
Kangla Nongpok Torban was developed under the Imphal Smart City Limited along the Imphal River. The spot is an open stretch of around 700 metres, starting from the foot of Sanjenthong Bridge to the Nongpok Thong (bridge) of Kangla Fort.
On this stretch, there are facilities for an open gym, walking track, cycling track, exercise arena, food plaza, kiosks and a performance stage. Besides, the beautiful lighting system of the place is a special attraction, drawing huge crowds during dusk at this recreational space that opens from 5 am to 7 pm. However, the ticket counter closes at 6.30 pm.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, a senior citizen from Pishum who came by an auto rickshaw in a team to see the ‘Kangla Nongpok Torban’ expressed his happiness on seeing the development of a recreational centre near the historic Kangla Fort.
One Oinam Ibotombi, an octogenarian and retired government staff from Pishum Oinam Leikai, felt that his visit to the recreational spot not only refreshed their minds but also made them recall the historic events of the state.
“Setting up of a recreational centre within a close proximity of this historic and a most sanctified place of Manipur, has made them recollect the olden days and the changes that has taken place in the past years. Coming to this place refreshes and rejuvenates their minds and thoughts,” he said.
Explaining about the monotonous lifestyle that most senior citizens go through as an impact of changing lifestyles, he said that most senior citizens are compelled to live a tedious life due to the absence of appropriate space to refresh their minds. To address such issues, many states purposefully construct special facilities exclusively for senior citizens, he added.
Manipur does not have any such recreational centre exclusively for senior citizens, he said. The BT Park which is open to all is the most visited hangout place for senior citizens. Nevertheless, the newly developed Kangla Nongpok Torban would surely become a favourite place until some more exciting place is developed, he said.
“But it is certain that many senior citizens would not be able to pay regular visits due to their inability to afford daily entry charges of Rs 20 per person. The senior citizens would have been very fortunate had the state government given some relaxation for senior citizens on entry charges,” he suggested.
One Sagolsem Arunkumar who came with his wife and daughter from Uripok Achom, told the Imphal Free Press that they decided to visit the place after getting information and seeing photographs of the place on social media.
Arunkumar and his family expressed their gratitude to chief minister N Biren Singh for setting up of the recreational centre at the area which was once treated as wasteland. “It is a good idea to develop a place for leisure named Kangla Nongpok Torban. This initiative gives a new way of life to people of state, and it is a must to have recreational activities or a space for entertainment amid the busy lifestyle,” he said.
A student studying Class XI from Kakwa, Imphal West who came to the place along with her friends said, “Just attending schools and tuition can be boring. I feel that social life and entertainment is also highly important for all round development. But having no proper place for recreation is truly unfortunate. I am so happy to see this recreational centre and expect that more exciting places would be developed in the future.”