STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 5th Dec:
Along with creating a history of sort by becoming the first chief minister of Manipur to attend the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, chief minister N Biren has stressed the need for joint endeavour between the two neighbouring states to reap the fruit of Act East Policy.
Attending as chief guest on the fifth day of the festival, which is being held at Kisama Naga Heritage Village located along the Imphal-Dimapur section of NH-2, on Tuesday, Biren said: “There are many untapped opportunities which Manipur and Nagaland as neighbours should jointly leverage to unlock the full potential of our two states and fulfil the aspirations of our people, especially that of the youth.”
Highlighting enormous potential for economic development in the north-east region as and when the Act East Policy becomes fully functional, he observed that for the north eastern region in general, synergetic and coordinated vision and relationships will be critical in realising the benefits of the ambitious policy that envisions holistic socio-economic uplift of the region.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu was the guest of honour on the occasion which as usual was marked by cultural troupes of host Nagaland as well as from the neighbouring states performing their respective cultural programmes.
Describing Nagaland, as a lustrous land, defined and shaped by bravery, honour and the rich traditions of the many tribes, chief minister Biren desired that the two states work with cohesion to attain the goal of prosperity through acceleration of infrastructure development.
“There is so much that connects our two states and its people. Based on our shared history and close cultural affinities, we must build the foundations upon which the people and institutions of our states can collaborate and cooperate with a strong sense of common purpose. Shared prosperity and collective gains can result only from shared vision and collective action,” Biren maintained in his speech.
Endorsing his Nagaland counterpart’s (TR Zeliang) suggestion for creating a ‘tourist circuit’ for the north east region, Biren emphasised that from next year onwards Nagaland and Manipur must sincerely attempt to evolve concrete collaborative mechanism for jointly promoting the two biggest festivals of the states - the Manipur Sangai Festival held in the last ten days of November and the Nagaland Hornbill festival in the first 10 days of December.
Conveying best wishes and warm greetings, on behalf of the people of Manipur, to the people of Nagaland on the latter’s celebration of 54 years of statehood, Biren said that the hornbill festival is “definitely the festival of festivals” taking into account of each tribe of Nagaland celebrating their own festival with dedication and passion.
Biren also expressed hope that participation of Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang at the just concluded ‘North East Development Summit’ and the Manipur Sangai Festival 2017 in Imphal would pave the way for strengthening the people-to-people interaction which will eventually bring development in the region.
“About 74 years ago, some of the fiercest and deciding battles of the Second World War were fought in Imphal and Kohima.
Collaborative efforts of our governments with entrepreneurs, historians and enthusiasts to develop a tourist circuit in this niche area should be supported not only for promoting tourism but for preserving the history and relics of these forgotten battles of World War II,” he said.
Further stating that Manipur and Nagaland could actively engage in the area of sports, Biren mentioned that “on the enduring foundations laid by the inspiring legacy of Dr T Ao of Nagaland, who was the first captain of Indian national football team after independence, we must build together and nurture the promising prospects of our young sports talents, like those of the eight Manipuris who represented India in the recent U-17 FIFA World Cup.” "Sports unify us and I strongly feel we must explore opportunities for increased interactions between the two states in the area of sports at various levels starting from schools, colleges, village, professional clubs level, etc.," said the CM. He further stressed the need for extensive and meaningful ‘people-to-people’ interactions and between institutions for collaboration and partnership in the area of entrepreneurship, skill development, commerce, arts, culture, films and theatre.
Biren expressed hope that the festive season will bring renewed vigour to strengthen the shared historical and traditional bonds and will cement enduring partnership, transforming the lives of the people of Manipur and Nagaland towards lasting peace, shared prosperity and collective future.
CM Biren was accompanied by PHE minister Losii Dikho, MLAs L Susindro, K Robindro, L Rameshwor, Th Satyabrata, S Subhaschandra, Awangbou Newmai and advisor to CM Rajat Sethi.