Preservation of xatras
GUWAHATI, Oct 1: Minister Keshab Mahanta has admitted on the floor of the State Assembly that the funds being doled out in drips and drabs for the preservation and development of xatras in the State are too meager to serve the purpose.
The issue came up for discussion in the House on Monday during the Zero Hour. Raising the issue, AGP MLA Gunin Das said: “In fiscal 2016-17, Rs 25 crore was earmarked for the development of xatras in the State. However, in 2018-19, the amount has come down to Rs 3 crore only. I request the government to grant at least Rs 100 crore for the development of xatras in the State.”
In his reply, minister Keshab Mahanta said that Assam has at least 862 xatras (registered) in the State, and for 359 of them a meagre Rs 68 crore has been released so far by the successive governments. “The State Government and the Government of India released Rs 4 crore for the development of xatras in fiscal 2006-07. It was followed by Rs 1 crore in fiscal 2007-08, nil in fiscal 2008-09, Rs 1 crore in 2009-10, Rs 1 crore in fiscal 2010-11, nil in three consecutive years – 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. Rs 25 crore was earmarked in fiscal 2016-17 and Rs 3 crore in the current fiscal.”
The minister made it a point that the funds being released for the preservation and development of xatras by the State and the Central governments in drips and drabs fail to serve the very purpose as there have been no plans for development and utilization of the funds. “The funds are spent without any planning as and when they are released. However, a section of MLAs has made lists of xatras and monuments in their respective constituencies for their development. We’re here to develop xatras, but subject to the availability of funds,” he said.