Tarun Gogoi’s Rs 90 lakh package of 2012 remains stillborn,
other politicians too promised much but delivered little
By Our Staff Reporter
Cooch Behar, Dec 30: Just because Madhupur Xatra, Vaishvite saint Srimanta Sankardev's last abode, happens to be located in the wrong State, it has been thrown into an existential crisis.
Upliftment of the xatra, its protection and preservation, have been more or less confined to harangues in public meetings and pious announcements. On the ground, little has moved.
The revered mostery does not get a single penny from either the Assam government or the West Bengal government for maintence. For the eight bhakats remaining in the xatra, it is a hand to mouth existence as they are solely dependent on dotions which are hardly forthcoming and offerings which are too meager.
"You can say the xatra is in ICU. We are fully dependent on the dotions and offerings by devotees. On my pursuance, the Bengal Debuttar Board hiked the monthly tax given to the xatra from 18 rupees twelve an to Rs 300 now. Besides, the xatra committee gives us Rs 2,000 every month. That is all we get to meet the monthly expenditure which comes to around Rs 25,000," Xatradhikar Lakhikanta Mahanta told The Sentinel.
Forget developmental initiatives, even protection works are not being taken up at the historic xatra.
"May be because the xatra is in West Bengal, the Assam government has been neglecting it. The West Bengal government on the other hand thinks it is the Assam government's lookout. Thus we are neither here nor there," the Xatradhikar said. But there has been no dearth of promises from politicians, who swear by the Vaishvite saint's me.
On April 25, 2012, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had announced Rs 90 lakh to Madhupur Xatra - Rs 50 lakh for a theatre hall and Rs 40 lakh to form a Trust.
The foundation stone of the theatre hall was laid in August, 2014, but the project did not take off due to a conflict with the construction committee.
"We don't know the whereabouts of the remaining Rs 40 lakh," the Xatradhikar rued.
In 2013, the then Tourism minister Chandan Brahma announced a Rs 8-crore package for the mostery to develop it as a heritage site. "But we haven't seen anything moving as a result of that so far," the xatra committee's president Dalim Pathak said.
Xatra committee secretary Shankar Das said former Governor JB Patik had also promised Rs 25 lakh to the Trust, of which only Rs 5 lakh was given. This amount is now with the Dhubri deputy commissioner. "We get a meager interest from the amount every month," the Xatradhikar said.
Earlier, the AGP government had opened a cultural centre at the xatra premises. The then Assam Health Minister Shyam Singh Hanse, while iugurating the centre, had committed that the Assam government would give a monthly rental to the xatra. "But we have not got anything so far," the committee members revealed.
Former MP Kumar Deepak Das had laid the foundation stone for an auditorium at Madhupur Xatra. There was no further progress of the project and the foundation stone was later demolished. (To be continued)
On April 25, 2012, CM Tarun Gogoi announced Rs 90 lakh
In 2013, the then Tourism minister Chandan Brahma announced Rs 8 crore to transform it into heritage site
The then Governor JB Patik had promised Rs 25 lakh
After building a cultural centre, the then AGP government had assured a monthly rental
The then minister had laid the foundation stone for a auditorium
Foundation stone for a theatre hall was laid, but it was not built/ No more funds received by the Xatra
No initiative was taken to execute the project
Rs 5 lakh was deposited with the Dhubri DC/ Interest on that amount given to the Xatra
Not a penny received by the Xatra till date
The foundation stone has been demolished after the project remained a non-starter for long