Unveiling the Barak Monolith and lighting of the festival lamp using the fire taken from the first position winner of the traditional fire making competition, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh opened the 1st State level Barak Festival at Senapati hill town, about 60 km north of Imphal on Thursday.
Chief Minister Biren was accompanied by Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Kayisii, Agriculture Minister V Hangkhanlian, Tamei AC MLA Awangbou Newmai, Karong AC MLA DD Thaisii, former Minister Francis Ngajokpa, ADC Senapati Chairman ML Markson, ADC Members, Secretary (Tourism) Nidhi Kesarwani, Senapati DC Somorjit Salam, president Solomon Arrow of Naga People’s Organisation and leaders of five different communities and organisations during the function.
The function, presided over by Public Health Engineering Minister Losii Dikho in the colourful opening ceremony, was also attended by Revenue Minister Karam Shyam as guest of honour.
Colourful cultural items of different tribes of the district besides beautiful chicken dance of Chakeshangs from Nagaland enthralled the opening ceremony wherein the dignitaries also visited the Morungs (traditional huts) of five communities of the district viz. Mao, Maram, Poumai, Thangal and Zeliangrong constructed at the festival venue.
In his speech, Chief Minister Biren expressed his desire to organise the festival in greater scale and more systematic manner with the participation of tourists and cultural troupes from other States and foreign countries from the next year.
Observing that water is life and there would not be water in the river without forest, he said the Government would take up tree plantation in association with the forest officials. Besides, introducing necessary solid waste management initiative along Barak river bank especially around the riverside villages and origin of the river.
In his speech, Public Health Engineering Minister Losii Dikho said that like Egypt is the gift of the Nile, Barak River has been playing pivotal role in maintaining a good ecosystem rich in floras and faunas in the State.
According to organisers, Miss Barak contest, Barak Voice Hunt, musical night, DJ nite, traditional car rally competition and expedition/trekking to Barak origin at Liyai Khullen are the main attractions of the festival this year.
It may be worth mentioning here that the festival is being organised to protect and conserve Barak river which originates from the hills of Liyai village in Manipur’s Senapati district and flows down through Senapati and Tamenglong districts before crossing over into Assam’s Cachar district and then into Bay of Bengal via Bangladesh, provides livelihood to five tribes – Mao, Maram, Poumai, Thangal and Zeliangrong in Senapati district alone.