First Sangai Festival under the BJP led coalition Government and not surprisingly Chief Minister N Biren seems intent on giving a new stamp on the festival which is scheduled to be held from November 21.
Difficult to say if the new measures will make the festival more meaningful but it is significant to note that the new Government has decided to shift the opening ceremony of the festival from the congested BOAT, Palace Compound, just adjacent to Hapta Kangjeibung the venue of Sangai Festival to Keibul Lamjao, the natural home of the Sangai.
A point which The Sangai Express has been highlighting for some time, that is to shift the venue of the festival from Imphal to somewhere more appropriate for the traffic congestion and the resultant pollution that the festival throws up defeat the very purpose of holding the festival.
Not that the festival venue has been shifted as such, but already a beginning has been made in the decision to shift the opening ceremony to Keibul Lamjao and it is here that the intention of the BJP led Government to give its own stamp to the festival becomes clear.
Nothing wrong with this, but care should be taken to ensure that the signature is of the BJP led Government and not BJP, the party for there is a gulf of difference between a Government and a political party.
This is where the other political parties need to be on their toes and so too the media.
Nothing can be more disastrous than to identify a State level festival with a political party.
Other than this, it is interesting to see that the Government is planning to open home stay facility during the festival.
This is welcome and it more than indicates that the State Government is under the impression that the Sangai Festival attracts many visitors from outside the State.
In the absence of statistics, it is difficult to say how many visitors the festival has been able to attract in the past few years.
Perhaps the BJP led Government may spell out the number of visitors during the festival and give it wide coverage for this will definitely be good publicity not only for the Government but also the people and the land.
The Night Plaza which will open on October 2 will also definitely supplement the festive ambience of the Sangai Festival and perhaps during the period of the festival, the Government may extend the working hours of the Night Plaza from the announced timing of 7 pm to 10 pm.
The Night Plaza may also be opened throughout the period of the Sangai Festival, that is from November 21 to November 30.
Other than this, the Government will seriously need to study how to attract more visitors to the Sangai Festival.
Power supply has already been taken care of but there are still so much to be done with regard to the other factors, factors which make people want to visit and relax.
Here a lot also depend on the people, and remember it is more than the customary hospitality that is needed but also to ensure that visitors or tourists feel safe and secure while here.
The Government has already decided to go in for home stay arrangement and while this is good and a positive move, the only question that remains is how many visitors has the Sangai Festival been able to attract ?
Home stay facility may be there but it will come to nought if there are not enough visitors.
Source: The Sangai Express