The inaugural event of the 3rd edition of Shirui Lily Festival was held at Shirui village local ground in Manipur’s Ukhrul district on Wednesday

Ukhrul: The much-awaited festival of the season in Manipur, Shirui Lily Festival 2019, was kicked off on Wednesday at Shirui village local ground in Ukhrul district in presence of a large gathering.

Union minister of state for tourism and culture Prahlad Singh Patel took part in the inaugural function, which was presided over by chief minister N Biren Singh, in presence of a host of ministers, MLAs, officials and locals.

Ukhrul district, which is home to the endangered Shirui Lily — the state flower, is located around 83 km from Imphal, the capital of the state.

This year, the inflow of tourists, both domestic and foreign, in the hill district has increased with over 2,000 homestays being booked by the visitors.

Addressing the gathering, the Union minister while appreciating the people of the state in upholding the rich culture and traditions, said that there will be no tourism without culture. “A collective effort is needed from all stakeholders to explore ways to attract tourists to the state,” the Union minister said.

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Celebrating such festival is also a way to promote the region as potential tourist destination and encourage locals to continue safeguard the rich culture, identity and customs, he added.

During the event, Patel also unveiled the ‘Strength of Unity’ pillar which was curated by young sculptor Sorei Keishing from Kangpat village.

Affirming the state government will not tolerate any elements that hurts the interests and sentiments of any community residing in the state, chief minister N Biren Singh informed that all the disputes will be settled through mutual dialogues and negotiations.

Singh also informed that around Rs 600 crore would be spent for improving road connectivity in Ukhrul district alone and another Rs 250 crore has been sanctioned for the construction of roads connecting Kamjong and Tengnoupal districts.

Complementing on the hospitality being offered by the Tangkhul community to its visitors, Singh also thanked the village chiefs, leaders and people of the hill district for taking Shirui Lily festival to greater heights.

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