IMPHAL, Nov 24 - Manipur Sangai Festival 2019, the annual tourism festival of the State, began today without much public participation.
The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), which has been spearheading a public movement in the State on the ongoing Naga peace talks, has boycotted the festival.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Chairman of Tourism Corporation of Manipur Dr S Ranjan, Chief Secretary Dr Suresh Babu and the envoys of several countries attended the inaugural function of the week-long festival at the well-illuminated Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre in Imphal East District this evening.
The foreign envoys include Ambassador of Myanmar Moe Kyaw Aung, Chutintorn Gongsakdi of Thailand, UNG Sean of Cambodia, Bounneme Chouanghom of Laos, Lim Thuan Kuan of Singapore, Dato Paduka Hj Sidak Ali of Brunei and Sidharto Reza Suryodipuro of Indonesia.
The festival will conclude on November 30.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that the inflow of tourist into the State has increased with the changing scenario in Manipur due to continuous efforts made by those in the government as well as the general public.
At the same time, there is also a rapid growth in economic activities in the State, he said.
He said picturesque Bunning meadow in Tamenglong district and Tengnoupal hill station are the two new emerging tourist destinations in the region due to their unique natural beauty.
The Ambassador of Myanmar and the Chief Secretary also addressed the inaugural function.
The Sangai Festival was also simultaneously inaugurated at Keibul Lamjao, the natural habitat of Sangai deer in Bishnupur district, and at Mao in Senapati district. Sangai is the state animal of Manipur.
The festival was started in 2010 to promote the State as a tourist destination with natural beauty, diverse flora and fauna, and a pleasant climate throughout the year.