Manipur government cancels all state-level festivals in view of COVID-19 pandemic

Tourism Minister O Lukhoi made the announcement while briefing media persons during the inspection of renovation works taken up in five different temples of the state on Thursday.


Manipur Tourism Minister O Lukhoi inspects renovation works in Imphal (PHOTO: IFP)

The Manipur government has cancelled all state-level festivals, including Sangai Festival and Shiroi Festival, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Tourism Minister O Lukhoi made the announcement while briefing media persons during the inspection of renovation works taken up in five different temples of the state on Thursday. The temples are Govindaji, Kaina, Bangshibodon, Gopinath and Bijoy Govinda.

"As there is always a huge gathering at every festival, the government has decided to cancel all the state-level festivals as a preventive measure against the spreading of COVID-19," said Lukhoi.

The minister also said the renovation works of the temples were taken up under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of the Union Tourism Ministry under the title ‘Spiritual Circuit’. The estimated budget for the temple renovation works is Rs 53.67 crore, he said.

"The renovation works of the temples are almost completed, it is likely to be inaugurated during the first week of December and make it available to the public," the minister said.

Asserting that many other developmental projects of tourism sites in the hill districts are underway, he said that the government is making all efforts to make Manipur a hotspot for state tourism.

Pointing out that the Loktak Lake is the mirror of Manipur and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the state, Lukhoi said that a dream project of the state government “Development of Loktak Lake Eco-tourism Project” is already in the pipeline.

“Once the central government approved the project, it will turn Loktak Lake and its surrounding areas into a world-class holiday and a recreation centre,” he added.

Director of Tourism W Ibohal, who also joined the inspection, said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic the number of foreign tourists visiting the state since March has decreased. The pandemic has impacted the Tourism department and taxi services.

Currently, the Tourism department is focusing on increasing the number of ‘homestay’ facilities in the state as most of the foreign tourists do not want to stay in normal hotels during their holiday trip, he said.

Moreover, the government is working to let the taxi and restaurant resume their services by issuing specific guidelines, the director added.

Earlier, the minister also inspected the construction works of the State Institute of Hotel Management in Awa Ching, Imphal East.

First Published:Nov. 26, 2020, 7:47 p.m.

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