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Trouble brewing ahead of Sangai Festival

IMPHAL, November 8: The mega festival of Manipur, the Sangai Festival 2013, instead of promoting culture, indigenous food items and heritage of the Manipur is starting to take the shape of a trade fair, said Kh Athouba secretary of Innovative Youth Society.

He made the allegation during a press conference held at the office of IYS at Kwakeithel today. The commercialization of the event into something parallel to trade fairs that are held in places like Delhi is evident from the high registration fee of Rs 15,000 per stall, he stated, adding that if its suggestions for fair organization of the festival are not accommodated, IYS and its partners will be boycotting the event.  

He noted that the stall fee have jumped by 50 per cent from the previous year without ascribing any particular reason behind it. He added that IYS was the first team to introduce a theme project for popularizing an indigenous and tradition food court at the Sangai tourism festival. But in an unfortunate decision, the tourism department decided to de-recognise the society, he lamented.  

He continued that this year the food court had been handed over to a small women agency called the Apex Handloom and Handicraft Artisans Co-operative Ltd, which is a body registered under the Commerce and Industries Department. The contract was reportedly awarded to the women group by the concerned principal secretary O Nabakishwor who is the chairman of the board responsible for activation of stall at this year’s edition of Sangai festival.

Athouba stated that in order to discuss the de-recognition of the society, IYS and its partners sought a meeting with Nabakishwor but it was denied and was suggested that it would be better to talk with the director.

He added that he suspects wheeling-dealing in the process of issuing tenders for selection of firms for the construction of stalls. The contract was eventually handed to a tent house owned by a close relative of Nabakishwor at a estimated rate of Rs 3,500 per stall, Athouba said and sought a clarification on the purposes it intended to charge the remaining portion of the huge stall fee of Rs 15,000.  

Athouba further appealed to the state government and the chairman of the Sangai Festival to review the entire policy of the organizing committee and ascertain the reasons behind the sharp rise in the registration fees of stalls.

If the tourism department provides us the required space inside the main venue of the festival in a matter of four days, he stated, IYS and its partners will provide a common food court, dining table, water supply, electricity, garbage maintenance and hygiene along with kitchen apron with logo of the festival.

On the other hand, the IYS and Innovative Youth Development Association will jointly file a PIL at the court against Nabakishwor after filing an RTI petition on the planned utilization of the financial estimate of the Sangai Festival, Athouba stated.

If the government fails to provide positive response on our demand within three days the two group of indigenous food promoter will boycott the Sangai Festival.

Further, groups associated with Chinjak Festival will be prohibited from participation at the festival and violators will be barred from Chinjak festival, he added.

Posted by Imphal Dispatch on 04:37. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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