ACCESS TO KAMAKHYA
OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 9: The Gauhati High Court has asked the Assam Government to constitute a committee to chalk out a comprehensive plan to create adequate infrastructures and facilities at the historic Kamakhya temple atop Nilachal Hills to make the holy shrine suitable for visits by physically challenged persons.
The committee will comprise of the commissioner & secretary of Social Welfare department, director of Social Welfare department, deputy commissioner of Kamrup Metropolitan district and two technical experts from the IIT Guwahati. The high court’s directive has come after it heard a PIL filed by the Indian Student Organization and ANR, a registered society highlighting lack of adequate suitable facilities and infrastructures for physically challenged persons at Kamakhya temple.
Durlov Talukdar who submitted the PIL before the Gauhati High Court on behalf of the Indian Student Organization, said there is no adequate provision in the Kamakhya temple for the physically challenged persons unlike Tirumala Temple in Andhra Pradesh, where special arrangements have been made for the physically challenged persons and senior citizens. Similarly, in Gujarat electronic rickshaws have been provided for the devotees. The petitioner while praying to the high court to instruct the authorities concerned to create similar facilities at Kamakhya temple, said a separate entry/exit, wheel chairs and ramps, toilets and rent areas must also created to make the temple fully accessible to physically challenged persons and senior citizens.
Responding to the petitioners’ pleas the Doloi of Bardeuri Samaj of Kamakhya Devalaya had made its submission before the high court stating that the Devalaya has been creating and endeavoring to create various facilities at Kamakhya temple for physically challenged persons and senior citizens. The petitioners, however, in their affidavit-in-reply informed the high court that steps initiated by the Bardeuri Samaj of Kamakhya Devalaya were not adequate.
After hearing both petitioners and respondents the Gauhati High Court observed that there is a need to improve facilities for the physically challenged persons visiting the holy shrine. The court said difficulties and inconveniences faced by the persons who are physically challenged and persons who are suffering due to their old age cannot also be ignored. The court said steps being taken by the management of the temple in their regard are not adequate. The court even said even though the IIT Guwahati was requested to take adequate steps for improvement of infrastructures, the same is yet to see the light of the day. Since all works relating to the referred subject of the petitions are progressing at snail’s pace the high court deems it fit to constitute a committee to consider suggestions of the petitioners for implementation.