GUWAHATI: The Assam Government will make a fresh move before the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) seeking its authority over the Namdang Stone Bridge.
The move has come following cracks recently developed in the stone bridge. The Directorate of Archeology, Assam will preserve Namdang as a heritage bridge.
The Namdang Stone Bridge was built near Gaurisangar in Sivasagar district in 1703 during the Ahom era. The bridge has been serving as an important link between Assam and rest of the nation for last 312 years on National Highway 37.
According to Wikipedia the bridge was constructed by craftmen brought from Bengal during the reign of Ahom king Rudra Singha. The bridge is 60 m (200 ft) long, 6.5 m (21 ft) wide and 1.7 m (5.6 ft) high. It runs over the Namdang river, a tributary of the Dikhou river. The unique characteristic of the bridge is that it was cut out from a single solid piece of rock hundred years of age.
The bridge is a little carved in shape. During the time of Ahom kings cement was not in use for construction. A paste of Bora (sticky) rice, duck eggs, black lentils and lime was used to make the bridge.
Even though the Directorate of Archeology, Assam wrote to NHIDCL seeking its authority over the stone bridge with an aim to preserve it as heritage bridge in early part of this year, the NHIDCL had expressed its ability to hand over the hand over the bridge till four laning of national highways is completed. But the recent cracks in the stone bridge has prompted the Directorate of Archeology, Assam to make a fresh move before the NHIDCL to take possession of the bridge.
Meanwhile, Minister of Archeology Keshab Mahanta has directed the Archeology department to immediately engage itself in repairing cracks developed in the bridge. The NHIDCL will assist the Archeology department by providing manpower and materials to repair the bridge.
“Despite being such an old and historic bridge it is still not in the list protected sites. Unless initiatives are not taken to preserve the Namdang Stone Bridge as a heritage bridge it will not be protected and preserved effectively,” a source in Archeology department said.