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Sibsagar Press Club completes 25 glorious years

In an attempting to give a pano-ramic outline history of Sibsagar Press Club, I feel a medley of thoughts blended with thrill of joy and bitterness zooming around my mind.  Established in the year 1993 the Sibsagar Press Club has been a forum for protecting and promoting public interest which is in fact the sine-qua-non for strengthening the edifice of democracy.
It was the early nineties of the last century when patches of dark clouds were hovering over the sky of Assam landing the people in a cul-de-sac with no end-way to come out. In these nightmarish days the people of Assam were alarmed at  sounds of arm-rattling emating from a trigger-happy group of young persons frustrated at ‘the exploitation of the resources of the state’ with no reciprocal benefit accruing to the state of Assam. This  exploitation and the resultant feeling of alietion is however not without justification. However, the way sought to remedy this situation through gun-rattling was not the right way. This way was not in keeping with the spirit of democratic norms and values which are rooted in the centuries-old Indian civilization and which are also enshrined in our Constitution which culls and blends the elixir of all the lofty norms and best ideals of all democratic Constitutions of the world.
This was a situation when everybody clearly understood the writings in the wall but nobody dared to bell the cat reposing a great responsibility upon the jourlist fraternity. Needles to say how risky this responsibility  had been in the unusual situation. One of our esteemed and brave colleague Late Kamala Saikia, the then President of Sibsagar District Jourlist Association (SDJA)  had even to lay down his life for highlighting the wrong approach to remedy the situation through violent means when killing, abduction, extortion etc. had been almost a routine daily affair by wielding his powerful pen. To meet the challenge posed by the unusual situation the unity of the jourlist fraternity was of paramount importance. This was a moment when the need for a common  and compact platform of the jourlist fraternity to create widespread social awareness among the people had been strongly felt. The Sibsagar District Jourlists’ Association (SDJA) with its members scattered in every nook and corner of this sprawling district had certain disadvantage to tackle the new challenges as it was difficult and time-consuming for get-together of all the jourlists in some urgent moments to vigate in the right direction and when decision in this regard  could not brook any delay in those turbulent days.
In such a background one of our young and energetic colleagues with a deep social commitment Dhiren th mooted the proposal to constitute the Sibsagar Press Club (SPC). This proposal of th had the instant and spontaneous support of almost all the jourlists operating within Sibsagar Revenue town.
Accordingly a meeting had been convened  on August 23, 1993 at Sibsagar Girls College premises to discuss constitution of the Sibsagar Press Club. This meeting was presided over by Chandra Bora, one of the seniormost jourlists of Sibsagar. The consensus  view in this meeting was that in spite of Sibsagar having the distinction of being the cradle of jourlism in Assam as the first newspaper from Assam Orunodoi was published from here has to wait for a pressing situation like present one to realize the importance of having a common platform for the jourlists of the area.
 Accordingly, to remove the desideratum of a common platform for the jourlists in this meeting, the Sibsagar Press Club was constituted with the following founder-office-bearers. Biren Barkotoky Chief Advisor, Chandra Borah, Sarat Mahanta and Gu Baruah as advisors. This formal constitution of Sibsagar Press Club has ushered in many fresh challenges and problems  for tackling which the founder office-bearers of Sibsagar Press Club had to work very hard sometime even making no difference between day and night. The first problem had been acquiring a suitable plot of land in a central and convenient place in the town and the second important problem had been the problem of fund-raising. When efforts had been on to tackle these problems of this fledgling institution the founder General Secretary Dhiren th had to leave Sibsagar. Consequent upon Dhiren th’s departure  Imul Hazarika , another young and energetic jourlist had to wear the mantle of General Secretary of this fledgling institution.
For allotment of a plot of land we approached the then Deputy Commissioner Maninder Singh who had already endeared himself to the people of Sibsagar for a series of developmental activities with a deep sense of commitment. Singh whom Sibsagar Press Club regards as a fatherly figure took prompt initiative to allot a plot of land in a posh area of the town near Dolmukh Charali. But some  unscrupulous and vested interest left no stone unturned to foil this allotment of land to Sibsagar Press Club but they could not be successful in this nefarious design. Needless to say that Sibsagar District Administration under the captainship of one of the most competent and efficient administrator Maninder Singh extended full assistance and cooperation in thwarting the nefarious designs of this section of vested unscrupulous elements.
A major portion of this plot of land allotted to us was muddy and slushy and to develop this plot of land for construction of the Press Club Building had the possibility of entailing heavy expenditure. But we had also the problem of paucity of fund. We are grateful to our then MPs Late Bijoy Krish Handique, Late Parag Chaliha, Basanti Sarma and MLA Late Promode Gogoi and former Assam Minister Late Anjan Dutta who extended liberal fincial assistance for construction of our Press Club Building. With contribution from the fund, the first floor of the Press Club was constructed.
 Sibsagar Press Club has a commendable record of service towards the society. Every year it encourages the meritorious and talented students of the district by providing fincial incentives and also help the needy poor students. Sibsagar Press Club has also been organizing annual Anjali Dutta and Sarat Mahanta Memorial lectures in which eminent and distinguished persolities from various domains of public life deliver lectures on some burning topics having relevance to current socio-economic and political issues. These are no doubt excellent record of service to the society and the people.
Jyoti Prasad Chaliha

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Ankur Kalita