Jun, 04, 2023 06:03
Screen Reader Access

Speech of the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Manipur on the Namami Brahmaputra Festival, Assam, 2017

  • Shri. Narendra Modiji, Hon’ble Prime Minister and Chief Guest of this event.
  • Shri. Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Assam.
  • Dignitaries, invitees, officials, friends from Media, Ladies & Gentlemen,

It is indeed a pleasure for me to be here today at the closing ceremony of the Namami Brahmaputra Festival, the biggest river festival in India. I express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Assam for extending us an invitation.

The Namami Brahmaputra Festival highlights the potential of the mighty river Brahmaputra. In our state also, the Manipur Sangai Festival celebrates the tourism potential of the state for ten days annually. Big festivals like this help us share our tourism products with the world. Collectively we can ideate events in regions around the Barak River which holds strategic importance for the states of Assam, Mizoram and Manipur. Festivals like the Namami Brahmaputra can be replicated at areas covered by the Barak River.

I feel extremely elated to know that various film screening cultural displays, indigenous sports and competitions having roots in cultural heritage of Assam were organised during this 5 day long festival. Assam is well known across the country for its Bihu Festival, Baishagu festival, Kaziranga festival, Kori Khel. Kaar Khel, Bhupen Hazarika and many more such personalities.

As a resident of North East, I feel extremely connected with all these. We, in Manipur, also have similar festivals, sports and personalities.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to recall our olden days of Manipur’s friendship with the state of Assam which goes back centuries when the valley of Manipur was regarded as “the great highway” between Cachar and other parts of Assam on one side and the Kabaw Valley or the kingdom of Manipur on the other side.

Today the Barak River plays an important role in connecting Manipur with Assam. It is an important source of livelihood for the people inhabiting the region. Like the Brahmaputra River, it presents a sea of inland water trade opportunities with enormous economic activities if properly developed. It has the potential to be developed into a business hub which could give a multiplier effect in generating employment in the region. We have a reserve of huge human resources today in the state.

Our state also connects the Northeast India to Myanmar through the Asian Highway 1. Better inland waterways trade between Assam and Manipur coupled with effect of better road connectivity policies taken up by the union government recently under the ACT EAST Policy will go a long way in boosting the economy of the whole NE region.

The formation of the North-Eastern Tourism Development Council (NETDC) on 6th January 2017 as a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative under the DONER Ministry reflects the high priority that the Union Government accords to the development of the region.

Today, there is a need to formulate plans to revive regional cooperation policies between states of the Northeast region of India to bring our economy to new heights. As the world prepares to usher in a new era of sustainable development, I feel that a need to act proactively, participate and play our parts as responsible governments collectively to meet our sustainable development goals is becoming more and more important.

There is a lot to be done in the region in the field of tourism, northeast as a whole is largely unexplored and we are a huge reserve of natural beauty. We need to exploit our potential to prepare for a better future. Manipur also has the potential to become one of the leaders in the field of tourism, even though it is at a nascent stage today.

In line with India’s development goals, we will plan to explore our tourism resources to attract increasing number of visitors to the state. We have abundant resources but we lack exposure. There are ancient caves, monoliths and megaliths and per-historic sites in districts like Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul which could be of interest to niche tourists. These are areas which are yet to be explored as Manipur is an emerging destination. Manipur’s rich cultural heritage and ancient past dating back to centuries has great potential of attracting foreign students interested in learning art and culture.

There are many other tourist attractions in our state like the Shree Shree Govindajee Temple in Imphal which is the most popular pilgrim Center of the Vaishnavite Hindus in the State. The rare Shiroi Lily of Ukhrul district, the Loktak Lake and the Keibul Lamjao National Park needs no introduction to many here. With the help of funding from the Union Government and the NEC, Manipur has been able to develop certain integrated tourist circuits that connects the tourist destinations of the state.

Back home I will share the experience I have gained from this festival with the people of my state and take up initiatives that are aimed at regional cooperation amongst NE states in the field of trade and tourism. It takes lot of hard work and patience to come up with an event of this scale. I wish the Organizers many more years of successful Namami Brahmaputra festival in the years to come.