GUWAHATI: The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) looks after the conservation, preservation and environment development of 80 centrally protected monuments and sites in North East. Of these 55 are in Assam, eight each in Meghalaya and Tripura, four in Nagaland, three in Arunachal Pradesh, and one each in Mizoram and Manipur. However, the fact remains that the fund crunch is putting up hurdles in developing many of these sites into tourist destinations.
From the point of view of art and architecture, the Ahom monuments at Sivasagar, Assam; the temple ruins of Bamuni Hill, Singri Hill and Da-Parbatia in Sonitpur district of Assam; the remains of a fort and the monoliths at Dimapur, Nagaland and the excavated Buddhist remains, rock-cut sculptures and the extant temples in Tripura are noteworthy.
While the Guwahati Circle looks after the 55 sites in Assam and one in Manipur, the others are looked after by the Aizawl Circle of the ASI.
For conservation, preservation and environment development of the sites under Guwahati Circle, the Centre allocated Rs 2.62 crore during 2016-17; Rs 3.77 crore in fiscal 2017-18; and Rs 3.15 crore during the financial year 2018-19. The allocation for 2019-20 is not yet known, informed a source of the department.
Talking to The Sentinel, a top official of the department said that “all the sites have potential. However, owing to paucity of funds lots of projects pertaining to the sites are yet to be taken up. Besides, road connectivity to several of the potential sites is not at all up to the mark.”
The official added that five of the 56 centrally protected sites under the Guwahati Circle have been drawing tourists and revenue has also been earned.
During the last three financial years from 2016 to 2019, the five sites extolling the architecture of the Ahom regime at Sivasagar district in Upper Assam attracted tourists from across the globe and within the country.
The revenue collected from the annual tourist inflow during the period from October to May in the four main tourist sites in Sivasagar district is as follows:
During 2016 to 2019, altogether Rs 83,90,455 was earned from 4,72,669 tourists who visited Karenghar; Rs 66,56,095 from 3,59,143 tourists visiting the Rangghar pavilion; Rs 36,04,850 from 2,06,269 tourists at the Ahom king’s palace in Gargaon; Rs 21,75,085 from 1,26,021 tourists visiting the group of four maidams at Charaideo; and Rs 6,79,385 from 38,794 tourists at Vishnu Daul – all in Sivasagar district of Assam.