Singngat

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Singngat
town
Singngat Vangkhua.jpg
Singngat is located in Manipur
Singngat
Singngat
Location in Manipur, India
Coordinates: 24°8′58″N 93°35′28″E / 24.14944°N 93.59111°E / 24.14944; 93.59111Coordinates: 24°8′58″N 93°35′28″E / 24.14944°N 93.59111°E / 24.14944; 93.59111
Country  India
State Manipur
District Churachandpur
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 21,174
Languages
 • Official Paite Zou people Simte Thadou
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 795135
Telephone code 3852

Singngat is one of the sub-divisional headquarters of Churachandpur district in the Indian state of Manipur and is a key administrative centre in the southwestern border of the state. The Manipur Government officially recorded the name as Singhat, that's because the Meiteis find it difficult to pronounce the original name.

Singngat, a beautiful hilly village, skirted by sprawling plains below, has a very pleasant climate.

Second to none when it comes to matters of awareness and progress, self-esteem and valour and the birthplace of many a great folklore, which will be always cherished and remembered, that in short is Singngat. It is the birthplace and humble beginnings of prominent businessmen, academicians, officers, artisans, writers, singers and songwriters, musicians, comedians, sportsmen and others who have excelled in their varied achievements. It is with great pleasure to recollect that it has an educational institution that has been recognised for its excellence even at the state level and was also a proud owner of a movie theatre at one point of time. The many great singers and their music albums it has produced, the books, novels, journals and articles it has churned out, and a very enlightening documentary and a couple of motion pictures it brought out, and the famous 'Singngat Special' tea has greatly enhanced the value of its 'Soft Power'. These are its identity which will live on for posterity.

Geography[edit]

It is a tiny border town between the international boundary of India and Myanmar. It is connected by road to the Burmese town of Tedim. Singngat is about 32 km from the district headquarters, i.e., Lamka and around 115 km from Sinzawl village bordering Mizoram. Behiang, a thriving trade center on the Indo-Myanmar border is 25 km away from Singngat. Singngat stands at a perfect geographical position; Tedim Road, starting from Imphal, the state capital, then Lamka, passes through Singngat and enters Behiang which extends further down till Tedim Township in Myanmar; and Guite Road starts from Singngat and passes through Sinzawl village which finally makes its way to Aizawl in Mizoram.

Society, Religion and Economy[edit]

Singngat is inhabited by several tribes who have almost the same social order as well as community laws and follow Christianity. There are 13 (thirteen) denominations - Evangelical Baptist Convention (EBC), Presbyterian Church of India (Reformed) [PCI(R)], New Testament Baptist Church (NTBC), Manipur Evangelical Lutheran Church (MELC), Zou Presbyterian Church (ZPCS), Chin Baptist Association (CBA), Kuki Baptist Convention (KBC), Kuki Christian Church (KCC), United Pentecostal Church (UPC), Catholic Church, Salvation Army, Sabbath (Judaism) and Seventh Day Adventist.

A major milestone had been achieved with the formation of Zomi Youth Association (ZYA) in Singngat in 2010. ZYA, thus, is the apex body of all philanthropic organisations in Singngat. Young Paite Association (YPA), Simte Youth Organisation (SYO) and Singngat Youth Club (SYC) became constituent members of ZYA Singngat.

Most of the indigenous local inhabitants of the village depend on agriculture and earn their livelihood from growing crops. As the village is blessed with suitable Agro climatic endowments, various cash crops like gingers, soya beans, beans, brinjals etc., help the village to earn their revenue. The people mostly practice the traditional method of shifting cultivation, which is popularly referred to as jhum. Rice is the principal crop in the agricultural economy of the village. Cottage industries like handloom, furniture, agricultural equipment, woven textiles, and bamboo and cane work have also played vital role in generating revenue for the inhabitants. There are some shopkeepers, private teachers and daily wages workers too. The Army personnel and the government officials posted here contributed a significant portion of the cash flow in the economy of the village. Recently, there are some new entrepreneurs who have started mineral water bottling and other new innovative economic initiatives.

History of Singngat[edit]

According to the recollections of Khupkhanhau Munluo, the present chief of Singngat, the village was founded by Pu Sumtual from Suangzang (Burma) in 1800. They first settled in the present location of Standard High school and the village owed its name to the many thin and tall trees that were in abundance around the Galleng ravine. This was the earlier location of the village inhabited by the first settlers.

The Chiefs of Singngat
Pu Shingvial Munluo (1805–1845)
Pu Shinghen munluo (1845–1905)
Pu Sawmthong Munluo (1905–1915)
Pu Tonghau Munluo (1915–1932)
Pu Thangzalam munluo (1932–1948)
Pu Khupkhanhau Munluo (1949-till date)

The extent of Singngat Village
When it was first founded, the geographical area of Singngat extended to Lanva river in the east, Tuivai river in the west, Tuitha (Khuga) river in the north and the southern end extended till Tuila river. The villagers often clashed with the villages under Haokip chieftainship. Since they were not able to protect the vast expanse of their territory, they made a truce and put up the head of a Mithun to mark the northern boundary of Singngat between the present day Mata Mualtam and Gelzang villages. As the Haokip chieftains expanded the area of their villages, they again clashed at Zezaw village and it came under the authority of the Haokip chiefs. The Haokip chiefs declared the area up to Likhai river as "Haokip Reserves" and at one point of time attempted to put Singngat villages under their authority. This led to Pu Letkhup Munluo and Suongpi Chief, Hemlam Haokip to a wrestling bout over the conflict. And as Letkhup emerged victorious, they agreed to keep the boundary of Singngat at Paldai river which remains the boundary of Singngat to this day.

Singngat Special[edit]

Singngat Special – a light-hearted if somewhat derogatory term was first used in the 1970s, when Singngat's sister town to the north, Lamka saw the influx of mainland traders, mainly Biharis and Marwaris. They opened up tea hotels, offering milky teas with snacks. They had in their menu called 'Special Tea' which was a slightly milkier version of tea with cardamom or ginger as one may prefer. Somehow the trend of serving Special Tea at tea stalls spread around. As such, the very few tea stalls along the busy Tedim Road in Singngat town also began to have it on their menu, on demand. But the end result was quite different. The tea in Singngat tea stalls, which gradually came to be known as 'Singngat Special', was just too sweet. Legends have it that when travelers, who passed through Singngat, stopped at a roadside tea stall and ordered special tea, the tea-maker would simply add an extra spoonful of sugar - not from an ordinary teaspoon, but an aluminum serving size spoons which were in abundance back then.

Increasingly 'Singngat Special' has acquired a negative connotation in different parts outside Singngat, implying excessive sugar being added to tea. In any social gathering, people from Singngat are generally subjected to ridicule over excessively sweet tea.

The two-word phrase 'Singngat Special' is very much part of the Zomi vocabulary now. Even as connotations attached of the term may always lean towards negativity, folks from Singngat are beginning to feel the need to nudge the word "is" in between, turning a decades-old derogatory label into a badge of honor: "Singngat is Special".

The Brunts of Ethnic Conflict (1997-98)[edit]

Till the Kuki–Zomi Ethnic Clash 1997–98, Singngat had a fairly busy bazaar. It had been a prosperous town with different ethnic people living together harmoniously. But that has become a thing of the past. Sadly, the once bustling town now looks more like a ghost town - quiet, dark, desolate, empty, neglected and abandoned. A large part of the town was burned down. From then on, Singngat started treading the path of degeneration. Needless to add, the impact of the clash was devastating.

It can be truly said that the Kuki-Zomi conflict was the root cause for the downfall and gradual disintegration of its morale, economy and progress of the town.

Border Model Town[edit]

Thanks to efforts by the powers that be, Singngat has been part of a military and civilian partnership that seeks to redevelop it as a Model Town.[2][3] Launched in 2005, the Singngat Military Civic Action project proposed to invest Rs 2,78,50,000 over the next three years or so on human resource development, educational enhancement, women empowerment and infrastructure development. This scheme involved renovation of the Government High School building, setting up of a Library and Recreation centre, children's park, hostel for boys and girls, erection of traditional gates, installment of solar-based street lightings, tree plantations, community hall, water harvesting schemes, vocational training centre, bus stand, and stadium and indoor complexes. It is unfortunate that while some of the components of the scheme have been implemented most of them are at best an unfinished agenda.

Local Administration[edit]

SDO office[edit]

Since the 1997 ethnic war, the government machinery had completely collapsed in Singngat. Gradual improvement is seen in the local administration with government officials starting to come back to their posts. As others before her, the present Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), Smt. Rachel Guite is also few and far between in the station. She, along with her staffs, are said to have been present only during important official occasions such as Independence Day and Republic Day. The SDO is now reported to be attending her duties more frequently these days for inspection and surveying of the road construction works by the BRTF.

Police Department[edit]

The Singngat Police station was burnt down in 2002 by Meitei militants. New buildings and quarters are constructed where there once used to be a prison. Presently, the station is headed by Officer in-charge S. Thanglien Gangte. An average of 10 police personnel and some VDF personnel are manning the station at any given point of time.

Fire Department[edit]

Presently, 2 ASI, 2 fireman and 2 drivers are manning the Singngat fire sub-station. They are equipped with a single dilapidated fire engine even though they are reported to be vigilant in their duty.

Post Office[edit]

The Post office is situated next to the main market and there are only two postal staffs serving the entire town. It has been reported that the staffs come to office once in a while and the postal delivery system as it is now is found to be lacking.

Infrastructures[edit]

Information Technology[edit]

Singngat woke up to web accessibility in the early 2000s. A Community Information Centre under National Informatics Centre was inaugurated in 2002. Internet facility was opened to the public and training classes were held. Typewritten news bulletin gave way to laser-printed bulletin. A completely new digitized world had swept the hills of Singngat. However, irregular power supply is a hindrance towards the full growth and utilization of the centre.

Electricity[edit]

Foundation stone for a 33 kV sub-station [4] was inaugurated on 23 April 2003 by Manipur Chief Minister, Ibobi Singh. From the commencement of this sub-station, there used to be a non-stop day-night power supply to the village though the standard has not been maintained in recent times. However, the town is getting better power supply than most other places in the state.

Communications[edit]

BSNL made its entry into Singngat in 2002 and the village has not looked back since then. Mobile and cellular services started in 2005 and 3G services have also commenced since September, 2011. BSNL still remains the sole service provider and some entrepreneurs have opened PCO booths using WLL sets. At some high elevation, we could get limited services from private operators like Aircel and Airtel.

Banking[edit]

A United Bank of India branch was functional during the 1980s. The building was damaged by fire during the great 1993 Singngat inferno. Since then, no banking service was available in the town.

A new Central Bank of India branch was opened in April, 2012 and is functioning smoothly.

Lifelines[edit]

Drinking Water[edit]

Water scarcity has been grappling the people of Singngat since time immemorial. People have to undergo tremendous hardships in fetching water to as far away a tiny stream at over one to two kilometers, everyday, which sometimes is just barely a trickle from a small rivulet. To address the issue of perennial scarcity of drinking water, certain initiatives had been undertaken in the past. These are as follows:

1980s: An earthen dam was constructed by Pu Gougin, the then MLA at Paldai which soon proved to be a dismal failure.

1990s: With aid from an UN agency, an underground water pump scheme was initiated. It made water available for everyday use and was a great success. Sadly, most of the equipments were damaged during 1997-98 ethnic conflict. No such activity has been undertaken since then and the free and abundant availability of clean drinking water remains a distant dream for the town's inhabitants.

2006-07: An amount of Rs.16 Lakh was sanctioned for water harvesting scheme under the MCA project. The system works only during the rainy season. A few old tanks are the only existing testimony to this scheme.

2009-10: A sum of Rs. 204.64 lakhs was sanctioned by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region for the augmentation of water supply in Singngat for the period 2009-2010.[5][6] This project was sanctioned in 20 July 2009 and according to the Detailed Project Report submitted by PHED, Churachandpur Division obtained from DONER, the source of water will be Tuisum river, 8 km from Singngat town. Work was started and the project was supposed to be completed by July 2011.[7] But for reasons best known to the local administration, the work remains uncompleted till date. Local residents say that the tank built at Vomkaw River from where water was to be taken was sub-standard and has already been partially damaged.

Transport[edit]

Roads are our lifelines and economic arteries. But the Lamka-Singngat Tedim Road had always been in a horrible condition, despite a generous funding of Rs. 13.96 lakhs in 2003-04, Rs.63.57 lakhs in 2004-05, and Rs. 34.52 in 2005-06. This road was under the care of PWD, CCPur division. Rapid development began to be seen during 2007-08 and now the journey, which usually takes two hours, has been cut down to an hour and a half. The task of maintaining this road has now been given to Border Roads Organisation. However, there have been clamours from different quarters that the BRO's works need to be properly supervised.

There are four daily bus services between Singngat and Lamka. The transport system is adequate at present since all passenger buses, trucks and vehicles coming from Behiang and Guite Road pass through Singngat.

Healthcare[edit]

In the 1980s, well-equipped doctors and nurses attended to patients under the sprawling expanse of the Singngat Primary Health Centre (PHC) building in downtown Singngat. A veterinary hospital was also there. During the 1990s doctors stopped visiting the place and the hospital building slowly rot away. The building was reconstructed in the early 2000s but it was never finished.

At the present time, daily medical care is given to patients at a makeshift PHC in Bethel Veng under Dr. Khenzamung Samte, Medical Officer (MO). The MO along with two other doctors, Dr. Rupachandra and Dr. Salim Khan (a homeopathic) and about five nurses are doing a great job in providing the much-needed health care to the people of Singngat and the surrounding villages. However, the doctors visit only once every week or two, and so people have to fend for themselves most of the time. The Singngat PHC is not equipped with necessary medical equipment. People have to go to Lamka District Hospital for further medical tests and procedures.

A new 10-bedded primary health centre (PHC) building was constructed at Mission Veng, Singngat and is now completed. Works for construction of doctors and nurses quarters are currently underway.

Education[edit]

The town of Singngat did not lag behind other places of Manipur in terms of education. There were four private schools and one government school. As the main government high school has been occupied by the Indian Army, classes have been shifted to the hostel building being built at HQ Veng under the MCA project. There are no regular students and the exact numbers of staff working here are not known.

The four private educational institutions functional at present are: The Hill Model High School, St. Joseph's School, Standard High School and Salvation Army Jr. High School. The Hill Model High School, which was established way back in 1971, continues to be the premier educational institution. The school had even produced a top 5th position holder all over Manipur in the class X board examination in 1995.

Politics[edit]

Singngat is part of Outer Manipur (Lok Sabha constituency).[8] It consists of Singngat (Singhat) Sub-division. Elected Members of Manipur Legislative Assembly from Singngat constituency since 1977 are as follows:[9]
1. Thangkhanlal INC(I) 1980
2. T Gouzadou INC 1984
3. Thangkhanlal KNA 1990
4. T Gouzadou NPP 1995
5. N Zatawn JD(U) 2000
6. Thangso Baite MSCP 2002
7. T Hangkhanpao NPP 2007
8. Ginsuanhau INC 2012

Tourist Attractions[edit]

  • Mar Vuum
  • Munlui
  • Tasar Farm
  • Sasan Kawl
  • Hanmual
  • St Joseph School Campus
  • Thangpu Ngakul
  • Field khoubaang

Rivulets[edit]

Townsfolk wash their clothes and carry water from the following rivulets/streams for daily use:

  • Paldai
  • Luipi
  • Lou lui
  • Mawngluikawi
  • Khakhai lui
  • Homeguard lui
  • Sihpheng lui
  • Mal lui
  • Saklam lui
  • Kul lui
  • Hai lui
  • Suangkuak lui
  • Leisan lui
  • Leisiatna Gamla
  • Leisiatna Nai

Notable personalities from Singngat[edit]

  • T Thangthuam, IPS
  • Eugene H Chinzahao (Author/Founding Editor, Tongluang)
  • Stephen B Nangchin, (Author, Vangtah Ka Kisakleh)
  • Pumzanang Guite, Lyricist/Poet
  • Vungzamuan Valte, IRS
  • Mahajon Vungluai, Entrepreneur
  • L Pumzanang, Special Contractor
  • G Ngulkhanthang, Entrepreneur
  • VL Mangzou (Writer/Columnist, Singngat Special)
  • Goukhanthawng Ngaihte, Entrepreneur

Notable singers from Singngat[edit]

Oldies[edit]

  • Ngaikhanching
  • Vungkhanching
  • Vungzachhing
  • Niangngaihching
  • LK Manga
  • Parmawi
  • L Thangbiaklal
  • Manggeu

New Age[edit]

  • Vungthiankim
  • V Biaklal
  • Grace Siamte
  • P Swant
  • Tanpu Tonsing
  • Vunggouniang
  • K Muanlal
  • Lalsonmuan (The Flint)
  • Jenny Zenthiansiang
  • Chachan
  • Kikim & Lialian
  • Mungbawi Neihguk

Singngat Vision 2020[edit]

Introduction
For the first time in the history of Singngat, a grand carnival, 'Singngat Special Meet 2011' was organized on 29 December 2011 at Hill Model High School campus in Singngat. It was a historic event wherein diaspora Singngatians scattered across the globe came home to Singngat; an auspicious occasion wherein Singngatians were captivated by a momentary pang of nostalgia; a joyous moment wherein the present inhabitants and diaspora Singngatians shared their glorious past. In fact, it's a journey back to the times of Singngat Vanglaini. A time to reminisce. A time to honour the memories of the departed souls who walked the street of Singngat. And, a time to come back home!

The gatherings while enjoying the glitzy moments incidentally got hold of the current scenario of Singngat. It is quite upsetting to observe that the town has been lying utterly neglected and deprived of developmental works and treading the path of degeneration. And no development works worth mentioning the name especially in the aftermath of the ethnic clash of 1997-98. The once bustling town now looks more like a ghost town - quiet, dark, desolate, empty, neglected and abandoned.

With a sense of deep concern on the current state of affairs, the collective leaderships of Team Delhi, Team Shillong, Team Lamka, Team Imphal, Team Singngat, etc. have painstaking deliberations on the issue. The collective leadership, thereupon, unanimously resolved to adopt a vision document "Singngat Vision – 2020" with a pledge to strive towards achieving the points given therein. The Vision is expected to be attained by 2020.[10]

Singngat Vision 2020

1. Drinking water: Water scarcity that grappled the people of Singngat since time immemorial is expected to be a thing of the past. Areas around Singngat township including the villages of Sumchinvum, Haiyang, Lhaiyang, Muallum, Tangpizawl, Muvanlai, Khomunnuom, Sialnah, Lancha, Teikot, Likhai, Munpi, Simbuk etc. will be supplied with pure drinking water with the installation of a major water supply project by pumping water from Tuitha or Tuivai rivers that will be stored in reservoirs at different locations.

Construction of a huge water reservoir on the upper course of Paldai stream is also another option which will also serve the twin purposes of a tourist attraction as well as a recreation centre (water sports).

2. Higher Secondary School: Upgrading of all the High Schools to Higher Secondary level in Singngat is expected to ease the burden of parents to a large extent. It is expected to be realized within the next two to three years. Students pursuing Higher Secondary Education (Class-XII) will no more need to leave the town for further studies. Besides, it is desirable that Private educational institutions particularly Higher Secondary schools in Lamka will be impressed upon the need to provide free education to the under privilege children by setting up branches at Singngat in terms of the policy of the government of India.

3. Community Centre cum Recreation Club: A Community Centre and Recreation Club will make its entry into the town by 2020. The Centre will house various indoor games viz Table tennis, badminton, etc. along with a public library. The center will cater to the needs of children for recreation and creative pursuits.

4. Sanitation: Clean and hygienic toilets will be installed at various points within the town. This will also encourage all households to have septic and hygienic toilets thereby paving the way for proper sanitation system in the village. Funding schemes for such activities will be explored through the National Toilet Mission/Sanitation Mission.

5. Road & Transport: All village roads will be blacktopped. Pavement and footpath will also be cemented by 2020. Road transport will also be properly improved. Highways or roads connecting Singngat, street lights and signage (sign boards) will be installed at convenient locations.

6. Telecommunication: BSNL will no longer be the sole Mobile and cellular service provider. Private Services like AirTel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance, etc. will make its entry into the town. The healthy competition amongst the service providers will also do away with the network problems. Besides, internet connectivity will also be made available which will facilitate reliable communication with other places of the world. The defunct CIC (Under NIC) will be made functional.

7. Hospital: Private or Mission Hospital will be set up by 2020.

Private/Mission agencies will be contacted to survey the possibilities for setting up of such a hospital. It will provide the much needed health care facility of the town and its surrounding villages. Interested NGO`s will be contacted for setting up Old Age Home, Orphanage Centre and Alcohol/Drug/Trauma Rehabilitation cum Counseling Center.

8. Economy: Cottage industries like handloom, furniture, agricultural equipment, woven textiles, and bamboo and cane work will play a vital role in strengthening the weak economy of the town. Sustainable developments will be facilitated by the suitable Agriculture, Plantation, Horticulture, Fishery, Poultry and Animal Husbandry projects thereby giving a boost to the economy. Banking facilities will be augmented to facilitate private entrepreneurs to set up craft centres and processing plants of local produces.

9. Tourist attractions: Naturally, Singngat is a beautiful hilly town with a pleasant climate. It is, therefore, observed that if efforts were taken to beautify the town it will attract tourists around the globe. Hotels and Resorts, recreation facilities etc. will be constructed at suitable locations to attract tourists.

10. Back to Singngat Project (Resettlement): Diaspora Singngatians will be attracted by the development that takes place in Singngat and its vicinity.

New township will be developed between Tourist Lodge and Thadou veng with the active participation of the village Chief by shifting the localities of Bethel veng, Mission Veng, Station veng, Zion veng and Sim veng. Original settlers of Singngat Village who had left the place will be invited to resettle at Singngat by allotting house plots with the condition that each allotee shall construct a house within five years from the date of allotment. New road alignment from Tourist lodge (hausapu nahtang farm) approaching Thangpu Fishery pond and connecting Tiddim road at Guite road junction will be constructed to benefit the new settlement. The major project will include the construction of market complex, sports centres, Schools, etc. and a rehabilitation financial package to the affected families which is expected to result in a better living environment. It is expected that there will not be even a single Thatched Roofed House in the New Township. The Official name Singhat will be changed to its original identity i.e. Singngat.

This Vision Document will be monitored very closely by the civil society and the implementation of the schemes being adopted will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Singngat Vision 2020 Implementation Committee.

This Vision Document shall provide guidance to the Government of Manipur, elected representatives, Village chief, Village Authority members, concerned Government officials Philanthropic organizations, civil society leaders and the public at large.

Adopted on this day, the 5th, January, 2012.

~By the Collective Leadership, Singngat Special Meet 2011

Singngat Special (Music Video) Album[edit]

As a way of promoting the Singngat Vision 2020 and showcasing the rich musical heritage of Singngat, the Singngat Vision 2020 Implementing Committee is recording a studio album titled "Singngat Special (Music Video) Album". This musical album features veteran singers as well as upcoming and established artists from Singngat. It consists of 16 tracks, of which three are original compositions and the rest are remakes of songs that were big hits during the heyday of Singngat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Census of India: Provisional Population Totals and Data Products - Census 2011: Manipur". "Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India". 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  2. ^ COAS gifts model village to Singhat . The Sangai Express (2006-08-09). Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  3. ^ Sports facility inaugurated . The Sangai Express (2009-06-05). Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  4. ^ Construction of 33/11 kv, 2x5 MVA substation at Singhat. Ministry of DoNER's Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  5. ^ Projects sanctioned of Manipur during 2009-10. Ministry of DoNER's Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  6. ^ CCPur Trio invoke RTI . The Sangai Express (2010-03-30). Retrieved on 2012-02-24.
  7. ^ CCpur in the throes of water woes. The Sangai Express (2011-02-03). Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  8. ^ "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies". Manipur. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Singngat Election Result since 1977". Manipur. Travel-India Guide.com. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  10. ^ Singngat releases Vision 2020. The Sangai Express (2012-01-27). Retrieved on 2012-02-24.