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Gaikhangam fumes at empty seats at event

Imphal, Dec. 12: Rows of empty seats at a state function near the chief minister’s office complex here today raised the hackles of deputy chief minister Gaikhangam.

“All government employees should ensure their presence at such an important state function. Their wilful absence at the function is a matter of serious concern,” Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister, said angrily.

The function, attended by chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, was organised by the government to commemorate two events in Manipur’s history known as Nupi Lal (women’s uprising against the British) in 1904 and 1939.

This annual function acknowledges and appreciates the role of women in the state’s social, economic and political spheres.

Ibobi Singh was the chief guest at the function and his MLA wife Landhoni Devi was also present.

Only a few ministers, MLAs and senior police and civil officials turned up.

The only face saver for the government was the presence of some Congress workers and people who came to see a short play depicting the women’s uprising, which was presented as part of the programme organised at Nupi Lal Memorial complex. The venue is at a stone’s throw from the chief minister’s office complex and 150 metres from the state secretariat.

Nupi Lal Day is a state holiday.

“The government employees have been making it a habit to stay away from important state and national functions. There should be a review of the matter,” Gaikhangam said.

He directed chief secretary P.C. Lawmkunga to issue orders in the future to ensure attendance by all government employees at important state and national functions.

“They (employees) have been shirking away from their responsibilities. There is no reason why disciplinary action should not be taken against the employees who fail to attend such important functions,” the deputy chief minister said.

Ibobi Singh, however, did not mention anything about the thin attendance.

In his address, the chief minister called on all the women to follow in the footsteps of the courageous women who rose against the British and contributed the all-round development of the state.

Citizens’ groups organised programmes to mark the day at various parts of the valley, including Nupi Lal Memorial run in Imphal, where more than 100 women — old and young — participated.

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