Imphal: “If we don’t protect our land, preserve our own culture and traditions, no one will come to protect and preserve them”, said Chief Minister N Biren Singh, stressing the significance of observing cultural events like Mera Houchongba. The Chief Minister was speaking as the Chief Guest of the State level Mera Houchongba 2023 observation at Kangla on Saturday afternoon.
Stressing its uniqueness and importance, N Biren said Mera Houchongba, was turned into a state-level celebration in 2017, recognising that there is no other event that celebrates the inextricable and strong bond between the people of the hills and the valley and that could unify the people more. N Biren also stressed the steps taken to bring unity in the State and the discussions with historians and cultural
experts from different communities. He highlighted that the government, after proper consultation with cultural experts and elders, had removed the Kaabak from the Kangla Shas, closed the Western Gate and opened the Eastern Gate of Kangla. He also said that the present situation is very unfortunate, and added that for the government it is an obligation to protect and guard the indigenous communities residing together in the State. The Chief Minister said schemes like Go to Hills and Go to Village were launched to understand and act upon the requirements of the people from the interior parts of the State. He added that the State government had produced a white paper on the allocation of budgets for the hills in 2021-22.
Further explaining the need to show politeness and courtesy in behaviour or speech towards each other to strengthen the bond between people, the Chief Minister said today the people has largely realised that we cannot live separately. The Chief Minister also explained the ecological imbalance which is affecting the environment and stressed that the government just wants to preserve and protect the Reserved Forest areas. He said the government is not trying to evict the people from their villages. N Biren concluded his speech with a prayer for the Mera Houchongba to bring peace in the State and for all communities to live together in peace.
The Chief Minister released a souvenir on the occasion. Other highlights included performances by various cultural and traditional troupes from different communities. Gifts were also exchanged, signifying the bond of brotherhood between the different communities of the State. Chief Minister N Biren exchanged gifts with K.Gongrisim, Ningthou Thangal Surung. DK Mothilphun Maring, 81, Chief of Konaltong Village, Tengnoupal District received the Khongleihanba AS Wungnaioyo Zimik Mera Houchongba Award, 2023. Ministers Y Khemchand, Konthoujam Govindas, Dr Sapam Ranjan, H.Dingo, Th. Basantakumar, Khashim Vashum, MP Rajya Sabha Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba, MLAs Irengbam Nalini, Leishiyo Keishing, Sapam Kunjakeswor, Lourembam Rameshwor, Th Shanti, Chief Secretary Dr. Vineet Joshi, village chiefs, village authorities, cultural experts and others attended the event organised by State level Organising Committee on Mera Houchongba 2023.