Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Tuesday called for peaceful celebration as Manipur's Sangai Festival 2022 curtain raiser was held at Kangla Western gate in Imphal and at Mao gate, Senapati district.
The Sangai Festival 2022 is being organised after a gap of two years under the theme “Festival of Oneness” at 13 venues across the state.
Biren along with Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, state ministers and MLAs released colourful balloons to mark the curtain raiser event from Kangla Western gate. He also flagged off the Sangai Run from Kangla gate.
Expressing immense pleasure on opening the Sangai festival after two years' gap, the chief minister welcomed the people of Manipur to take part in the festival.
Saying that the festival is not confined in the city but will be spread across the state for public involvement, Biren appealed to the people of Manipur to prevent causing any hindrance during the festival and maintain discipline towards tourists.
This year, the main venue will be at Sangai Ethnic Park at Moirang Khunou where people can start visiting the park, the chief minister said.
The other venues included the Heritage site of Makhel at Senapati district, Maharaja Chandrakirty Park at Behiang and Geljhang of Churachandpur district among other places where the festival will be held.
Indigenous sport called ‘Sagol Kangjei’ will be played on November 18 at Kangjeibung and Polo Ground where international polo will be held, he said. He also said a permanent structure of Sangai Ethnic Park was constructed to organize the festival there every year.
The Sangai Run concluded at Indoor Stadium after passing through Lamlong Bazar, Kongba Bazar, Pishumthong, Keishampat, etc.
Manipuri film actress Soma Leishram was declared as ambassador of the festival. Other well-known personalities from different fields, including former national and world champion boxer Laishram Sarita, actors Gurumayum Bonny, RK Somorendro (Kaiku), Hijam Bala, Ningombam Biju and Designer Robert Naorem also attended the event.
The chief minister also launched the online lottery for distribution of Sangai Festival stalls.
Biren along with state ministers, MLAs, chief secretary Dr Rajesh Kumar and DGP P Doungel among others inspected the ongoing work at the Sangai Ethnic Park.
At Mao Gate, IPR Minister Dr S Ranjan Singh, who attended the event as chief guest, flagged off the Sangai Marathon Run from Martyrs Park NH-39 to Cherry Blossom Festival venue and unveiled the monolith of Raku Kokubu (Base Camp).
Speaking during the event, Dr S Ranjan Singh said that under the able leadership of CM Biren, Cherry Blossom Festival has been included as a part of the festival this year. The main objective of organizing the festival at this area is to showcase the hospitality and talent of the people of the area.
"We need to promote talents in the midst of the festivity as there are many talented people in the state," he added.
The minister further stated that Manipur has a lot of tourism potential and tourist are flocking in the state to see the natural beauty of the state. “We need to promote tourism with a futuristic vision. To witness a beautiful and tempting Cherry Blossom Festival next year, we need to work together for the overall development of the state,” the minister said.
L Susindro Meitei, CAFPD minister, who was the functional president stated that the people of Mao have been playing a great role in safeguarding and protecting the state border.
He added that as a Manipuri, we should know our mother tongue for a smooth communication among the communities of the state.
Susindro appealed the people of the area to cooperate with the government to organize the Cherry Blossom Festival in a grand manner in the coming years.
J Komu Sha, MLA, Karong, DC, Senapati, officials of Health Services, Manipur, local leaders attended the event among others. Later the minister and his team inspected Sub-District Hospital, Mao and District Hospital, Senapati.