MANGALDAI: Following the unique initiative of the Superintendent of Police of Darrang, Er Sushanta Biswa Sarma in motivating encroachers to vacate the encroached land belonging to the pre-historic Shiva Mandir at Dhalpur Hill under Sipajhar Revenue Circle in Darrang district on their own accord, Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday, despite adverse weather, arrived at the Shiva Mandir to offer prayers to mark his wedding anniversary. Chief Minister Sarma became the first Chief Minister of Assam to pay a visit to this pre-historic Shiva Mandir. However, in 1983 the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had addressed a rally at Chaulkhowa Chapori -adjacent to the Shiva Mandir.
The Chief Minister at about 11.38 am landed at the Garukhuti temporary helipad by a chopper and covered a distance of 700 metres of muddy and slippery track on foot to embark on a mechanized boat. Crossing two anabranches of River Brahmaputra, he reached the Mandir. In the Mandir he offered prayers before Lord Shiva and held a discussion with the office bearers of the Mandir Management Committee in presence of guardian minister of Darrang, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Sipajhar legislator Dr. Paramananda Rajbongshi and former legislator Guru Jyoti Das. He highly appreciated the unique initiative of Darrang Superintendent of Police in making the encroached land of the Mandir vacant without any eviction drive.
Expressing his serious concern over the encroachment of 180 bighas of land allotted to the Mandir, the Chief Minister assured to construct a boundary wall of the entire Mandir complex and to transform this pre-historic Mandir into a tourist attraction, for which he also assured to construct a helipad at Dhalpur. He assured to construct a tourist lodge and a dining hall and to renovate the Monikut.
With a view to encourage the local indigenous youths of the locality in taking up multi cropping agriculture, during his two-hour long visit, Chief Minister Dr. Sarma made a suggestion to lease out the agricultural land to local youths where the sale proceeds would be deposited in the fund of the Mandir Management Committee as per the agreement.
On being asked about the government's policy to evict the encroachers from the encroached 77,000 bighas of VGR and PGR land in the entire area, he said that the government would take action to free all the VGR and PGRs from the encroachment. "I hope that the encroachers will vacate the encroached VGR and PGRs on their own will. If necessary, the government will initiate action as per the prevailing rules and Acts to make these VGRs and PGRs free from encroachment," said Sarma. Significantly a large number of people of the locality belonging to the religious minority community greeted the Chief Minister. He also interacted with them.
The ancient Shiva Mandir at Dhalpur hill is one of the pre-historic places of archaeological importance with 20 caves, which once were habitats of the cave men. A good number of cave drawings in the cave walls are believed to be of the Stone Age and bear great significance and importance in archaeological view point. Even as per the mythology, Bhim -the second of the Pandavas- during his exile period spent several years in the caves of Dhalpur Hill.