Travel through Manipur's hill districts to understand tribal culture

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Imphal, Apr 3 (ANI): Manipur, a land of pristine natural beauty consists of valleys surrounded by magnificent hills that are inhabited by different tribal communities.

A substantial portion of the population resides in the hill districts of the state.

During the journey to Sadar Joute and Sikibung villages, one can meet tribals inhabitants and take a look at their way of life.

Sadar Joute is , a village in Senapati District, located around 65 kilometers from Imphal.

Sadar Joute is dominated by the Kuki tribe and is spread across an area of 2000 hectares and has a population of 200 and has 34 households.

Untouched by the modern influences, the villagers, who depend largely on farming and forest produce for their livelihood, lead a simple life.

Weaving by womenfolk is an additional source of income for the villagers. hanks to the physical distance the village faces problems of inaccessibility and under-development.

Lack of proper water storage and supply facilities, health centers and education facilities are some other problems faced by Sadar Joute villagers.

Though some developmental schemes like the Prime Minister Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and the rural electrification scheme 'Atenglok Multi-Purpose Pico Hydal Power Project' have made a difference, but still a lot more needs to be done.

"After the coming of Pico Hydel Project in our village, we don't have to face load-shedding anymore. We can use electricity whenever we need. We don't suffer from shortage of electricity as we used to earlier. We are very happy about it," said Manglen Changsan, Sadar Joute village chief.

The Manipur autonomous District Council election, which will be held after a gap of 20 years, is round the corner and people residing in the hill districts are hopeful that it will help bring about progress and development in the area.

With militancy and related problems rampant in the region, preventive security efforts also need to be strengthened.

"We rarely get the full amount of funds sanctioned by the Center. Militant groups in the state extort money and we receive just a meager amount. If we elect a sincere, hard working representative in the forthcoming district Council election, then we hope there will be development in our village," said Peter, a local, Sikibung village.

"We need schools for our children, a health center and proper road connectivity. Also, for youngsters like us, we want new projects like weaving and other projects in our village that will provide jobs," said Zoujam Changsan, a local.

The story of the Sikibung village in Ukhrul District is as same as that of Sadar Joute and developmental work needs to pick up pace, here also.

Situated over 8o kilometers from Imphal, the picturesque Sikibung is inhabited by the Naga tribe who depend on cultivation of Yongchak.

Yongchak is a bean and a favorite ingredient in many Manipuri dishes.illagers feel that the proper implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) would provide some source of income.

"One yongchak tree can produce beans worth Rs. 4000. And every house has at least 10-20 yongchak trees, which makes it quite profitable. This is how we earn our livelihood. NRGS has helped us. That is the only source of income we have now," said Phungrei, Sikibung village chief.he Autonomous Hill District Council elections are scheduled to be held in two phases in the month of May.

People in the hill districts are looking forward to electing their representatives who will work for them and bring development to the region.(ANI)

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