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Chief Secretary of Manipur D S Poonia on Sunday called for a larger collaboration between his state and Karnataka in information technology to help develop the upcoming Special Economic Zone in Imphal.

Speaking at the 'Manipur Kumhei', a festival of Manipuri culture, hosted by Raj Bhavan, Poonia said that IT parks and software companies must look at Imphal's SEZ as a place with business prospects.

"There are 14 daily flights from around the country to Imphal and a direct flight every day from Bangalore. The airport has already started an expansion project over 600 acres to become an international airport. Our chief minister is very keen to build the relationship between Karnataka and Manipur as at least 10,000 Manipuri citizens are residing in Bangalore," said Poonia.

Step aheadĀ 
The setting up of Manipur Liaison Office in Bangalore with an officer on special duty is a step ahead in building better relationship between government and people of both the states, said Poonia.

Officer on Special Duty V Ramakantha said Manipur's prime focus will be to integrate and collaborate in IT and sports sectors.

"There is a need for a cultural acceptance of Manipuris from the local residents here instead of looking at them as Chinese. A few other cities will also host Manipur Kumhei in Karnataka and a film festival is being planned to display Manipur's great cultural and cinematic history," he said.

Cultural event
he festival featured many traditional dance forms at the Glass House. The stick dance, 'Lai Haraoba', 'Thang Leiting Haiba' and other performances were presented before the audience comprising Governor H R Bhardwaj and his wife.

Bhardwaj said: "Problems in the North East continue to exist. In Manipur, there is a problem with road connectivity. Many people leave Manipur because of the problems. Soon, I hope, the state can showcase its rich tradition to people of India and become a tourist spot."

Poonia also announced the setting up of India's only integrated checkpost which will be on the border between Myanmar and Manipur. "Upto 45 acres of land has been acquired for the same and it will become operational in two years," said Poonia.