Bereft of festive mood, native stall operators fear loss

IMPHAL, 24th Nov: Despite being one of the main venues of Sangai Festival which will continue till November 30, Lamboi Khongnangkhong witnessed no improvements compared to previous editions of the festival with many stalls still lying vacant.
With the attention of visitors drawn towards imported products and items from other states of India, concern for promotion of indigenous products was not seen.
While ornaments and jewelries of Egypt and Thailand stalls record highest sale, many of the state stalls were found to struggle to reach the Rs 2000 mark per day sale.
Some other foreign stalls are selling goods for more than Rs 20,000 per day.
Reports said that since stalls were not allotted properly to those who want to showcase their products, about 70 stalls at the venue are still lying vacant even though the 10-day long festival has entered its fourth day and some stall owners were seen shifting stalls.
Regarding the allotment of stalls, officials of Tourism department conveyed that in the previous edition of the festival, there were 500 stalls but this year 150 stalls were added.
The officials clarified that some of the stalls are still lying vacant because of non-attendance by sponsor stalls, transfer of non-Manipuri stalls inside the hall of the venue and changing of stalls.
Visitors who wanted to lodge their complaints about improper conduct of the festival were helpless as there were no officials in the two stalls of Tourism department at Lamboi Khongnangkhong.
It may be mentioned here that foreign stalls and stalls from other states of India were allotted space inside the hall of the venue whereas stalls of indigenous products which will identify Manipur to visitors were allotted space outside the hall amid dust and pebbles. There is also no systematic arrangement for food stalls.
Visitors have expressed that there were no improvements compared to the previous edition of the festival and added that since the festival is going to be held every year, the government should locate a proper venue. Doing things for just namesake will only embarrass the state in front of visiting tourists, one of the aggrieved visitors said.
Pointing out that Langol hills are seen distinctly from the venue, a visitor suggested that display of words like ‘Sangai Festival’ at the hill range during nighttime using decorative lights will attract the attention of the visitors.
Another visitor observed that if the festival is to be held every year at Lamboi Khongnangkhong, it will be better if the government also look into the condition of the roads leading to the venue.
Stall owners who have been opening stalls from earlier Sangai Festival editions opined that there were fewer visitors and lowest sales this year up to now.

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