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Dispur to oppose handing over of Kaziranga to private party

‘ADOPT A HERITAGE’ PROTESTS

OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 3: Rattled by the widespread protests against the Centre’s decision to hand over four important and historical sites including the famed Kaziranga National Park to private parties for the purpose of “maintenance”, the Assam Government on Thursday said it will oppose the move in case of Kaziranga.
“Kaziranga is a State property under the forest department. It is not an archeological site and thus do not fall under the Centre’s latest scheme of Adopt Heritage. Barring Kaziranga no national park of the country has been included under the Adopt Heritage scheme. So we will write to the Centre expressing our opposition to hand over Kaziranga to a private party under Adopt Heritage scheme. We will demand the Centre to reconsider its decision in case of Kaziranga,” State Tourism minister Chandan Brahma told reporters here on Thursday.
Brahma said on the issue of handing over historical Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar and Shiva Dol to private parties the State Government will hold discussions with various organizations and individuals on Saturday to arrive at a consensus. He said the government will respect views and sentiments of the people of Assam before taking the final decision.
On other hand various organizations continued to hit the streets for the third consecutive day on Thursday  after reports emerged that Kaziranga National Park, Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar and Shiva Dol will be handed over to the private sector for maintenance.
Opposition party Congress and other protesting groups, including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and All Assam Student’s Union, alleged that these four monuments are the pride of Assam and cannot be handed over to private parties for maintenance.
ATDC chairman Jayanta Mallah Baruah on Wednesday said there is no move to hand over the KNP and Ahom monuments – Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar and Shiva Daul in Sivasagar –to any private party. The Union Ministry of Tourism has launched a project – Adopt a Heritage – so as to ensure investment from the private sector for the development of utility services in heritage sites of the country through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

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Ankur Kalita