New consultant to be hired to prepare airtight dossier
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 25: With earlier attempts to include Majuli in the Unesco World Heritage Site list falling through, the Assam government is going back to the drawing board. This time it has decided, in principle, to hire another consultant and prepare a new dossier on the river island.
The earlier failures have been ascribed to incomplete dossier prepared by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) through a consultant it had hired. According to sources in the State Cultural Affairs department, the ASI is now reluctant to handle the issue any further. So the onus is now entirely on Dispur to push the issue.
“Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has agreed to the proposal. The Cultural Affairs department will soon call tenders for hiring a new consultant after a detailed discussion over the issue,” sources said.
Sources further stated that earlier dossiers were rejected by the Unesco due to non-receipt of required documents from the Central government. “Majuli has prospects to be selected for the World Heritage Site status but the Central government needs to take the initiative through proper channel with proper documents. Prospects and possibilities are open for this beautiful island, its people, its culture and its ecology to be in the World Heritage Site list,” sources added.
Located bang in the midst of the Brahmaputra in Jorhat district, Majuli is the largest riverine island in the world where the great Vaishvite saint and fountainhead of Assamese culture Srimanta Sankardeva first established a xatra.
Majuli had a total area of 1,250 square kms but has been losing landmass significantly to erosion. By 2001, it was reduced to only 421.65 sq kms.
Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti in February last said Majuli should be declared a spiritual tourist destition and included in the World Heritage Site list.