Ukhrul, May 25 2022: The much-awaited 4th State-Level Shirui Lily Festival kicked off amid cultural extravaganza here at Shirui Village Ground on Wednesday.
The festival resumed this year after a gap of two years due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by Governor La Ganesan as chief guest and Chief Minister N Biren as functional president.
They were accompanied by ministers Th Biswajit, Khashim Vashum, Letpao Haokip & Awangbow Newmai, HAC chairman Dipu Gangmei, MLAs, tourism commissioner PK Jha, tourism director W Ibohal and other high ranking officers.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor La Ganesan noted that the festival has immense potential to make Ukhrul district a tourist destination.
“Shirui Lily festival, if marketed properly, can become a tourist attraction,” he said, adding that it will improve the well-being of the local population and bring advanced knowledge and expertise to improve the environment.
He said that the annual state festival featuring traditional games, music, sports, food and cultural activities will help increase awareness of the rare flower and bring sustainable development in the tourism sector.
“The rarity of this flower needs in-depth scientific research”, he said and lauded ICAR Manipur for taking up the initiative of tissue culture of Shirui Lily plants for perpetuation of the rare species.
“The focus on the global warming and its impact on the lily including remedial measures is laudable and I do feel that it is most timely”, he said.
The Governor added that apart from Shirui Lily, the Shirui Hills also has other monsoon flowers which could enhance the chances of promoting tourism in the district.
Addressing the gathering, CM Biren said that the state has witnessed some positive changes in the last 4/5 years.
He informed that the state government has initiated different development programmes in the state, including Ukhrul district.
As a major project of the present government for the district, Biren announced a project titled ‘Shirui Heritage’ worth Rs 46 crore which will be taken up to develop a compact area of Shirui village and its environs under PMJVK, Ministry of Minority Affairs.
According to CM Biren, some of the other developmental works being taken up in Ukhrul district included a project worth over Rs 8 crore for development of Khangkhui Cave, project for enhancement of Nungpi pottery and the ongoing process for upgrading Pettigrew College to a university status.
The government will not compromise on quality.
Misappropriation of funds and projects taken up under his government by any agent, whether it be departmental or contractors, will come under the scrutiny of the law, he said.
Expressing elation over the success of the festival’s fourth edition this year, he said that the Shirui Lily festival has evolved into something more than simply a festival.
“It has become an occasion that draws the communities of the hills and valley together and closer than ever before,” he said.
Biren further said that the festival brings opportunities for the visitors to appreciate the scenic beauty of Shirui village, try local cuisines, and purchase local items such as Longpi pottery products, fruits and chillies, among other indigenous products.
“This celebration also provides a chance to promote the adoption of Haofa, a unique Tangkhul dog breed, as well as the raising of Mithun (Seichang/Sandang), which is a special livestock animal for the people of Ukhrul” .
He also appreciated the Tangkhul CSOs for their spontaneous support and cooperation to the ongoing ‘War on Drugs’ campaign of the state government and by clamping prohibition against poppy cultivation across Tangkhul-inhabited areas of the state.
During the inaugural ceremony, different cultural dances and musical entertainment items were showcased.
Other features during the festival will include Miss Shirui Lily beauty contest, cycling, marathon, 7 A-side football, essay writing, music and many more.
Special appearances by Miss Universe 3rd runner-up Adline Castenino as showstopper of the opening fashion show and performance of The Monument, a British rock band at Bakshi ground on May 28 evening are some of the few highlights.
MLAs Sheikh Noorul Hassan, S Kebi, Leishiyo Keishing, Ram Muivah, ambassador to Ivory Coast Sailas Thangal, additional chief secretary MH Khan, DGP P Doungel, TNL president David K Shimray, Ukhrul ADC caretaker chairman Dr Yaronsho Ngalung and other representatives of CSOs also attended the event.