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Biren, Pema grace Hornbill Fest

Correspondent KOHIMA, DEC 5 (NPN)
Published on 5 Dec. 2017 10:48 PM IST
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The fifth day of the ongoing Hornbill Festival witnessed the presence of three chief ministers-- N. Biren Singh (Manipur), Pema Khandu (Arunachal Pradesh) as the chief guest and guest of honour respectively and T.R. Zeliang, the host of the day. 
In his speech, chief minister, N. Biren Singh said based on shared history and close cultural affinity, Nagaland and Manipur must lay the foundation upon which people and institutions of both the States could collaborate and cooperate with a strong sense of common purpose. He said: “Shared prosperity and collective gains can result only from shared vision and collective action.”
Attending the fifth day of ongoing Hornbill Festival at the Heritage Village, Kisama, as chief guest on Tuesday, Singh said there were untapped opportunities that Manipur and Nagaland as neighbours should jointly leverage to unlock full potential of the two States and fulfil the aspirations of the people, especially the youth.
He welcomed Nagaland chief minister, TR Zeliang’s proposal to create a “tourist circuit” for the Northeast and suggested that the two States must try to evolve a collaborative mechanism by 2018 for jointly promoting their respective mega festivals – Sangai festival in November followed by Hornbill Festival in December. 
Singh said a synergetic and coordinated vision in the Northeast would be critical in realizing the benefits of the Act East Policy.
He also suggested that both the State governments should collaborate, along with local entrepreneurs, historians and enthusiasts, to develop a tourist circuit for preserving history and relics of the forgotten battles of World War II on the Indo-Burma front. Asserting that sports unite people, Singh called for exploring opportunities for increased interactions between people of Manipur and Nagaland in sports at various levels like schools, colleges, villages, professional clubs, etc.
He said the two States should cooperate in sports based on the enduring legacy of the legendary Dr. T. Ao, who captained the first Indian national football team after Independence. He added that the two States must jointly nurture young promising sports talents like the eight Manipuris who represented India in the recent U-17 FIFA World Cup.
Thanking Zeliang for the invitation to attend the festival, the Manipur chief minister remarked that with each tribe celebrating its own festival with dedication and passion, Nagaland was indeed the “land of festivals” and that Hornbill Festival was definitely the “festival of festivals”.
Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister, Pema Khandu, who attended the event as guest of honour, said he had always wanted to visit Hornbill Festival since its inception in 2001 and added that it had given exposure not only to Nagaland but also to the entire Northeast.
In a lighter vein, Khandu said Hornbill was a State bird for Arunachal Pradesh and yet Nagaland was propagating it with. And with so many tourists now flocking in, Arunachal too should get a part of the revenue from Nagaland, he quipped jokingly. 
He said people in metro cities had different perceptions about the Northeast despite each State of the region having its own unique platform to showcase its cultural diversity. 
He also appealed to the youth of the eight North Eastern States to promote their unique culture and traditions, adding “This is our tradition and identity”.
On the other hand, supporting the Clean Election Campaign at the behest of NBCC, Khandu appealed to the civil society organizations, youth and churches to come forward and do away the money culture during election.
He said spending huge amounts of money during elections was not a good idea. “We have to do away with money culture because with money culture existing in elections, we won’t be able to find good leaders and without good leaders we cannot develop our States,” he remarked.
Stating that he had learnt about Clean Election Campaign through social media, Khandu said the initiative was very encouraging. 
On development front, the Arunachal chief minister said the Northeast was ignored in some way or the other for past many decades, but now under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership things were changing fast.
Recalling his recent visit to Imphal, Khandu said he was happy to see big investors from across the country expressing their willingness to invest in the North-eastern States and that it was a welcome step and the Government of Manipur had achieved a lot.
He said close on the heels of Global Investors’ Summit scheduled in Guwahati in February next year, where Modi would participate, Arunachal Pradesh too would be hosting an investors’ meet.
Khandu maintained that the region held huge potentials that required big investors to unlock them. He suggested that the eight regional States work together in this regard and reminded everyone of the target set by Modi of 2022 for achieving “New India” when the country will complete 75 years of Independence.
On his part, Nagaland chief minister, T.R. Zeliang exuded confidence that, along with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur, all North-eastern States could coexist as friendly neighbours and that peace alone could take the States to the path of progress and development.
He suggested that various festivals of the region like Tawang Festival of Arunachal Pradesh, Sangai Festival of Manipur and Hornbill Festival of Nagaland should be dovetailed so that tourists from different parts of the world could embark on an odyssey of the Northeast at one go and at much lesser cost. 
Zeliang said the states of the region shared many things in common and that similarity in culture, traditions and way of living or looks was more than dissimilarities.
He further advocated a common development strategy for the region as it was landlocked and tucked away from the mainland, in sync with the fast changing times
Zeliang said with the Act East policy fast taking shape, Nagaland along with other North-eastern States could look forward to a much faster pace of progress on various fronts in the days to come.
He said the geographical isolation of the region could soon be a thing of the past as it would emerge as the gateway of the ASEAN countries.
Host of government dignitaries from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland attended the festival on Tuesday.

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