Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh recently launched 'Imphal Evenings', a weekend plaza on Kanglapat Road amidst much fanfare and glittering lights.
The idea behind the plaza is to give recreational space to the people of the state with an aim to live healthy lives with their families and be exposed to its culture and night life.
The plaza will be opened on every Saturdays and Sundays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. without any entry fee on the stretch from Khoyathong junction to Raj Bhawan junction (eastern half of NH-2).
On the first day, a huge crowd turned up at the plaza and all the stalls enjoyed brisk business.
Chief Minister Biren Singh and MAHUD Minister Th. Shyamkumar graced the launching function as chief guest and president respectively.
Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar, PHE Minister L. Dikho and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Ksh. Bhabananda also attended the function as guests of honour.
Chief Minister Singh said the new initiative had been introduced to present an opportunity to the people to spend some quality time with their families and friends together.
"Manipur is being portrayed as a trouble-torn state, and most of the people of other states and countries generally have a wrong notion about Manipur that nobody ventures outside after dusk in the state," he added.
He said that the new government has tried to show to the world that Manipur is no more a trouble-torn place and it can also have a night life.
He also hoped the plaza would be able to give jobs to many unemployed youths.
Seeking suggestions from the public, the chief minister said the government would put in effort to make the plaza better and more beautiful.
He added that every type of intoxicant is strictly banned at the plaza.
In his presidential speech, MAHUD Minister Th. Shyamkumar said the brain behind the plaza is Chief Minister Biren Singh.
He described the chief minister as a far-sighted and dynamic leader and as a person who never turns down any good endeavour.
He also sought suggestions from the public to make the plaza better and successful.
The government has earmarked space for 102 stalls at the plaza. However, the government has received only 92 applications so far.
On launch day today, only 56 parties turned up to open stalls at the plaza. About 40 stalls have been reserved for indigenous food items, 25 for fast food items, 15 branded restaurants and 30 for general stalls.
One police booth each at Khoyathong and Raj Bhavan junctions and two booths at Kangla western gate were opened to monitor security and guide the visitors.
For safety measures, there were booths for medical and Manipur Fire Service personnel. Apart from this, every stall has been instructed to mandatorily keep a fire extinguisher each.
Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) also deputed 30 volunteers at the plaza to assist the visitors, stall owners and police.
Manipur Police Department also deputed 30 plains cloth personnel to assist the crowd and ensure security.
Four points have been reserved for the talented persons who wish to present/showcase their skills at the plaza free of cost.
Mobile toilets are kept at two places for the convenience of the public. On the other hand, 10 bio-toilets have been procured to install at the plaza.
The food stalls were instructed to sell only fresh and healthy edible items approved by Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) and State Food Safety Authority.
State Food Safety personnel will regularly monitor the quality of the food items sold at the plaza.
In addition to stalls, boating facility was provided at Kangla moat.
The main task of managing the plaza has been entrusted to Municipal Administration, Housing and Urban Development (MAHUD) Department, and Manipur Urban Development Agency (MUDA).