This Week The North East: Oranges, Manipurís other trademark

Oranges, Manipur's other trademark

Manipur is not just about about insurgency, bandhs, blockades and blasts. The state is gearing up for the ninth state-level Orange Festival, to be held on December 14 and 15 at Tamenglong, about 140 km west of the capital. While the festival will see various interesting events such as traditional games and sports, an orange eating competition, the Orange Queen contest and various entertainment programmes, its biggest attraction is the "best orange" contest, for which the farmer gets a cash award of Rs 1 lakh. Tamenglong, also a district, accounts for about 70 per cent of Manipur's annual orange production, which is estimated at about 10,000 tonnes. Tamenglong is marked by evergreen forests, a wide variety of wildlife and a number of waterfalls.

Mizoram villagers donate land for Sainik School

In Mizoram, 61 families of Chhingchhip village, about 50 km from Aizawl, have donated land for setting up the state's first Sainik School. While the land donated by 44 families will be part of the campus, that donated by the 17 others will be used for constructing an approach road to link the Sainik School to the highway. Appreciating the contribution of the villagers, who have declined to accept compensation for the land, Chief Minister Lal Thanhalwa said though the Sainik Schoool won't directly benefit them, "this is more due to their dedication". Two decades ago, the state's only airport at Lengpui was also constructed on land donated by villagers. The Sainik School is coming up on a 100-hectare plot and its construction cost is estimated at Rs 100.33 crore.

New reserves give Tripura elephants more space

Concerned by increasing incidents of man-elephant conflict in recent years, the Left Front government in Tripura has announced two new elephant reserves in the state, one each at Gandhari in Gomati district and Atharomura Dhalai district. Tripura's wild elephant population has increased from 38 in 2002 to nearly 60 in the current year and creation of more space around the existing habitats would help reduce conflict with humans, said state forest minister Jitendra Choudhury in Agartala. The government has also demarcated two elephant corridors near Gandhari and Atharomura, while 62 locations have been declared forest villages to accommodate tribal families currently living in small clusters.

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