Manipur Tourism clarifies to allegations regarding non-payment of prize money to the winners of the Shirock 2022

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Imphal: In continuation of the recent order issued by the Department of Tourism, Government of Manipur blacklisting Gigbox Productions Private Limited for mismanagement of Shirock 2022, the Department clarified to the allegations made against it regarding the non-payment of prize money to the winners of the Shirock competition so as to avoid further confusion on the same at a press conference held at the Directorate of Tourism, Government of Manipur today.

“The Shirui Lily Festival 2022 was a major success and we had visitors from all over India as well as other countries. The entire team of Manipur Tourism and the district administration played a vital role in the successful organisation of the event. However, on Thursday, 4th August 2022, the rock band ‘Prophets’ from Mizoram which won the Shirock 2022 competition posted on social media that they are yet to receive the prize money for the competition after almost two months,” said P.K Jha, Commissioner (Tourism), Government of Manipur.

“We have called this press briefing to put things in the right perspective and to set the record straight.  The 1stOrganising Committee Meeting was held on 20th April, 2022  under the Chairpersonship of the Honorable Chief Minister, Manipur in the presence of the Hon’ble Ministers,  Hon’ble MLAs of Ukhrul, various Departments as well as some of the public organizations of Ukhrul district and five sub-committees were formed, namely  Executive committee, Reception Sub Committee, Entertainment Sub Committee, Cultural Sub Committee and the District Level Co-ordination Sub Committee,” added P.K Jha, Commissioner (Tourism), Government of Manipur.

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“These Committees were chaired by Hon’ble MLAs and the incident which has been brought to our notice relates to the Entertainment Sub-Committee. This particular event in question was organised by the Entertainment Sub-Committee and fund was also allocated through the district administration for various events. The overall budget for the Shirui Lily Festival 2022 was Rs. 3.5 crore, and considering the importance of the festival, the Honorable Chief Minister, Manipur decided to increase the budget for the Shirock event by Rs. 1 crore so the total overall budget for the entire event is Rs. 4.5 crore,” said P.K Jha, Commissioner (Tourism), Government of Manipur.

Out of the entire amount, Rs. 3.5 crore was released by the government in 2 (two) installments (40% and 60% respectively) and the corresponding amounts was released to different Sub-Committees, Departments, Firms etc. on 21st May 2022 and 18th July 2022 respectively by this Department.

An amount of Rs. 2 crore was allocated to the Entertainment Sub-Committee and out of that a sum of Rs. 1,55,55,555/- (rupees one crore fifty five lakh fifty five thousand five hundred and fifty five) has been released for the Entertainment Sub-Committee. The remaining amount was to be paid after submission of the final bills/vouchers and the amount released to the committee was more than 3/4th of the total amount. Our expectation from the various committees was that they would utilize the funds rationally and that it will be evenly and proportionately distributed amongst vendors/participants.

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I would like to put it on record that this event management company has not been hired by the Department, we are not having any arrangements, any agreement or contract with them. We have been informed that the Entertainment Sub-Committee identified and selected the said company.

However, as the matter has caused embarrassment for the government as well as for the department, and after organising such a successful event with cooperation from all the stakeholders concerned, it is unfortunate that we got a bad name and we have taken certain actions immediately.

When we learnt that the payment which was to be done through the event management group of the Entertainment Sub-Committee has not been made, we got in touch with the senior officials from the Government of Mizoram through the Director (Tourism). Thereafter, we have immediately paid the payment for the prize money directly though it was to be done by the event management group of the Entertainment Sub-Committee said the Commissioner (Tourism), Government of Manipur.

The Director (Tourism), Manipur said that it was an unfortunate incident that this matter has brought about a huge embarrassment to the State as well as the Department. Now, that the matter has been resolved after the quick intervention of the Department, he appealed to the general public to help stop the spread of further negative remarks regarding the incident.

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“The Prophets have thanked us for the immediate intervention and have updated the same on their social media pages, however, considering the lapses committed by the event management company, we have blacklisted the company from participating in any events organised by this Department. Further, we have requested the Deputy Commissioner for the bank account details, statements and to see how the funds have been utilized and which vendors have received how much amount of the funds released to them. If we feel it necessary we will not hesitate to take further action against the event management company. We are fully committed to organising all our events in a fully transparent manner and all our accounts are open for scrutiny and there is nothing under the carpet and at the same time this event management company has not been hired by us and we have no official interaction with them but still we have taken action as they have brought a bad name to the State,” added the

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