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Sitharaman inaugurates Sangai Festival

IMPHAL: Union defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman Wednesday inaugurated the 8th edition of Manipur Sangai Festival, the mega tourism festival organized by the Manipur government in Imphal.
Sitharaman, who arrived in Imphal by a special flight, inaugurated the ten-day tourism festival at its main venue in Imphal’s Hatta Kanjeibung in the presence of Manipur Governor, Dr. Najma Heptulla, chief minister, N. Biren Singh and other dignitaries.
In her address, the Union minister highlighted the unique features of Manipur and asserted that the state has more than enough to become a world class tourist destination.
Lauding the Manipur government for developing a heritage park with traditional houses of all the 33 recognized tribes of the state, the Union defense minister said that the project will add another feather to the beauty of the state.
She therefore, promised all possible assistance from the Centre for successful implementation of the project.
Besides the natural beauty and rich cultural tradition of the state, the Union minister also lauded Manipuri women for their courage. 
“You have the women market, the only one of its kind in the globe. The market exclusively for the women tells of the power of women in the world. It tells of the courage of Manipuri women who fought against the imperials. We should be proud of it,” she said
Manipur Governor, Dr. Najma Heptulla, who expressed surprise at Union minister’s knowledge about Manipur, remarked that “She spoke from her heart” while inviting her to visit the state again.
She said that the Sangai Festival has now been recognized as a national event and has brought the cultural flavour of Manipur to the centre stage. 
“It is very comforting that the tourism department under the state government has been making relentless efforts to woo tourists and make Manipur a popular tourist destination,” Dr Heptulla said. 
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh hoped that tourists coming to the state during the mega event will have a comfortable stay saying that “We are trying our best to facilitate a comfortable stay for visitors here.”
The chief minister highlighted some of the main items which would attract people’s attention during the festival, adding that the Princess of Thailand will be arriving in Imphal to take part in the festival on November 27.
Ministers, MLAs of the ruling party and top officials of state administration, police and Central security forces attended the opening ceremony.
Before inaugurating the festival, the Union defense minister inspected the heritage site at the main festival venue where traditional houses of some major tribes of the state were displayed. 
Accompanied by the chief minister and his council of ministers, Sitharaman also inspected some exhibition stalls at the main venue.
Unlike the previous years, this year, the festival is being organized at five different venues.

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