Sivasagar MLA and Raijor Dal president said the investment of Rs 100 crore can give a return of Rs 1,000 crore to the state government. He was speaking in the assembly.
Sivasagar was named one of the five places in the country to be developed by the Modi government as iconic sites. The upper Assam town is a testimony to the glorious 600-year rule of the Ahom dynasty, whose rulers came from South China and ruled vast parts of Assam till the advent of the British in the 19th century.
Akhil himself belongs to the Ahom community and he was nominated by his party from the prestigious seat with high expectations. “In order to protect, preserve and beauty the heritage sites of Sivasagar, it should be declared a State Heritage Site or State Heritage City,” he said.
He said if the state government declares Sivasagar as a State Heritage City, it may pave the way for the Unesco to declare it a Word Heritage City. Akhil said under the provisions of the Assam Heritage (Tangible) Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Maintenance Act, 2020, a place can be declared a heritage site.
Alongwith numerous Ahom-era monuments, the pyramid-style graveyards of Ahom kings and queens have drawn researchers from abroad to the district. Akhil pointed out the importance of these sites, saying the cremation techniques in these maidams or graveyards is comparable with those adopted in the pyramids in Egypt.
Several buildings and locations in Sivasagar are protected under laws enacted by the Centre and state government in view of the immense importance of the place in terms of archaeology. Akhil, however, rued that limited funds are released by the government for the preservation of these historic monuments. In view of the expansion of the urban areas of Sivasagar town, he said it has become imperative to keep the integrated plans of Sivasagar, encompassing vast paddy fields around the monuments, intact.
Cultural affairs minister Bimal Bora agreed with Akhil, and said Sivasagar has the potential to become a World Heritage Site. He, however, said Rs 100 crore is not enough to fully develop Sivasagar. “Our government is committed to do more than what can be done with Rs 100 crore,” Bora said.
Gargaon palace, Rang Ghar, Group of four Maidams, Charaideo, Talatal Ghar and Vishnu Dol are the sites in undivided Sivasagar district that are under the ASI supervision. Surrounded by human settlements, the historical monuments face the threat of encroachment.
Sivasagar, earlier known as Rangpur, was once the capital of the Ahoms. The scattered nature of the monuments, especially the maidams, Hindu temples and architectural structures has made it more difficult for the conservation agencies to protect the monuments.