TODAY -

Sirarakhong 3 days chilly fest kicks off
Source: The Sangai Express / DIPR

Ukhrul, August 29 2018: Horticulture and Soil Conservation Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar today inaugurated the three-day long 9th Hathei Phanit (Chilli Festival) at Sirarakhong village, Ukhrul district, which will be held till August 31.The festival is held on the theme "Celebrating the God's Gift - Hathei" by the Sirarakhong Hathei Promotion Committee and Sirarakhong villagers and sponsored by NEC through EBADA Manipur, Horticulture and Soil Conservation and Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA).

Speaking as the chief guest of the inaugural function Th Shyamkumar said that Manipur has many communities and places which have different specific specialities.

Stating that the Sirarakhong's Hathei which grows naturally is definitely God's gift, he said that the State Government takes the festival seriously as it is aware of the many difficulties faced by the farmers/ villagers and is the speciality of the place.

He promised that after discussing with the farmers and the villagers special steps will be taken up by the department to increase the production of the chillies.

He said the Government led by the dynamic Chief Minister N Biren Singh is committed to the welfare of the people especially at the hill districts.

Stating that villagers and officials should come forward and extend help to the department officials, he said the officers concerned at the districts must visit the places and give an extensive report regarding the possible steps and programs which can be taken up in the areas concerned.

The Minister also announced Rs 13.50 lakh for the construction of rural market shed under the MIDH scheme of the department and allocation of a 4x4 vehicle for the transportation of local produces till the capital city after September this year.

It may be mentioned that the Minister had earlier provided a similar vehicle for the villagers of Kachai in Ukhrul district.

He advised the people to focus and work harder for the production of more chillies.

Birachandra Singh, Joint Director, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department said that North East is among the top States in the country which has rich biodiversity.

Stating that the special chilli Hathei grows wild in Sirarakhong, he said that seven varieties of chillies are found in the State and if Hathei is added then the number will increase to a total of eight varieties.

Stating that the chilli is blessed with unique colour and taste, he appealed to the organising committee to continue the festival and spread the taste across the globe.

M Kirankumar Singh, District Officer Ukhrul, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department said that the production is more this year compared to last year which was affected by the incessant rain.

Informing that the Hathei chillies are grown at around 300 hectares and King Chillies are grown at around 100 hectares of land, he said the actual data on production of chillies is yet to be ascertained.

He said special survey is needed to record the production of chillies, which he hoped will be done by next year.

He further said the areas for the cultivation of the chillies need to be expanded as the demand is more than the actual supply.

He said by next year, the focus will be on area expansion and making good saplings of the Hathei.

H Balkrisna Singh, Director, Directorate of Information and Public Relations said that it is his maiden visit to the place although he has heard about the unique taste of the Hathei chillies from many people.

He advised the villagers to work hard to increase the production for prosperity of the village and for global recognition.

He further wished the organisers of the festival a grand success.

As part of the function, special songs were presented including on Hathei and Shirui.

Special dance were also presented at the inaugural function followed by tree plantation program.

K Dickson, Chairman, ADC Ukhrul, V Wungkhan Zimik, Headman, Sirarakhong village, Weapon Zimik, president, Tangkhul Naga Long, village headmen of different villages, villagers of Sirarakhong among others attended the festival.


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