Pothashang News Service
Imphal, October 5: People of Manipur today gathered together and celebrated Mera Houchongba festival with pomp and gaiety at Kangla, which was organised by the state government in collaboration with the Sana Konung, Kangla Fort Board and Sanamahi Temple Board.
This was the first time the state government organises Mera Houchongba.
People from all communities in the state gathered at the Royal palace and took out a cultural procession in the morning upto Kangla, sacred cutural heritage site of the state. The procession was led by Titular King Meidingu Leishemba Sanajaoba. People in diffent attires from all the hill and valley together rejoiced in the rally amid dance and music performances by cultural troops.
Rituals were performed with offeringsto Lord Pakhangba at Kangla. Rituals—‘Men tongba’ and ‘Yenkhong Tamba’ were performed during the celebration at Kangla Uttra. Leishemba Sanajaoba hoisted Mera Thaomei (Lamp on top of bamboo pole). Everyone at the gathering prayed for peace, unity and prosperity.
Leishemba Sanajaoba said, “This time we organise this festival in collaboration with the state government as it has recognised it as the festival of unity and brotherhood.” He appealed all people to come together and build unity in the state through Mera Hou Chongba.
A state level Mera Houchongba Committee level was formed with chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh as the Chairman of the Committee to make the festival a mega event.
In the afternoon, at Kangla hall, Biren Singh, Meidingu Leishemba Sanajaoba and art and culture minister L. Jayantakumar led the second session of the festival. Gifts were exchanged among different communities. Traditional cultural programmes were also highlighted in the function.
Biren Singh said, “We need to forgive and forget the past mistakes sincerely to retain the strong fraternal bond between hill and valley people.” The misunderstandings in the past need to sidelined and march forward.
He hailed titular king Meidingu Leishemba Sanajaoba for his efforts of keeping up the tradition of celebrating the festival every year.
Acknowledging the significance of Mera Houchongba, the new Government had decided to celebrate the festival in a grand way under its aegis from this year, he added.
Stating that there has been considerable improvement in hill-valley ties ever since the new Government was formed in the State, the Chief Minister said that he was moved by the kind gesture and fine hospitality shown to him and his Minister during reception ceremonies held at Ukhrul, Kangpokpi, Senapati and Churachandpur.
Maintaining that no development is meaningful if the needy people of hill and interior areas are uplifted and empowered, Biren Singh said that he is planning to visit Tamenglong district by road soon to look into the inadequacies of the district and review various development works.
He assured that people would witness considerable developmental changes both in hill and valley districts within 2 or 3 years. Shri N. Biren said that his Government had decided to revamp all the major roads across the State on mission mode soon after rainy season.
Biren Singh also said a WhatsApp Group comprising PWD engineers, SOs, contractors and himself as its members had been formed to expedite developmental works.
In order to complete the projects within stipulated time, he had even instructed the Works Minister to increase the working hour of officials from 8 hours to 14 hours with overtime allowance if necessary, the Chief Minister informed.
Regarding Imphal Evenings, the Chief Minister clarified that the Government is simply trying to provide recreational space to the public as the people of other States think that there is no life in Manipur after nightfall.
Admitting that there were some traffic congestion problems on the first day, the Chief Minister assured that proper planning has been made to avoid such inconvenience in future.
Jayantakumar said, the idea behind organising the festival in such a grand way is putting effort to mark the beginning of an event which would be remembered forever by the future generation from this year’s Mera Houchongba celebration.