GUWAHATI, Dec 13 - Defying the State Government�s order for its restoration, contractors engaged by Cotton University today removed some CI sheets from the century-old Assam Type (AT) official residence of Principal Jnanadabhiram Barooah in a bid to demolish it. However, due to the timely intervention of the members of the city-based conservation body � the Heritage Conservation Society, Assam (HeCSA), this senseless act, detrimental to historical heritage conservation, was stopped. J Barooah was the founder principal of the Earl Law College.
Meanwhile, Archaeology Director Deepirekha Kauli has warned that her Directorate will take recourse to legal action, as per the provisions of �The Assam Heritage (Tangible) Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Maintenance Act, 2020�, if the required cooperation in conserving these heritage buildings are not received from the quarters concerned. The plot of the land on which this building is located belonged to the Earl Law College, the first law college in this part of the country, which was set up in 1914. Construction of the building was completed in 1915. Sometime back, possession of this plot of land, along with these Assam Type buildings, was handed over to Cotton University. However, when the drive to demolish these buildings started, HeCSA members met the State�s Cultural Affairs Minister Keshab Mahanta and Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah with a plea to conserve these buildings as heritage structures. Following this, the State Government issued an order for the restoration of these buildings.
An official communication (No CAD 150/2015/Pt I/32, Dated, December 11, 2020) signed by Preetom Saikia, Commissioner and Secretary, Cultural Affairs Department of the State, requested Cotton University Vice Chancellor �to stop the demolition of the building if proposed with an intimation� to the Cultural Affairs Department.
In the letter, the Commissioner and Secretary, Cultural Affairs Department said, �It is learnt that the building is a heritage building as per 'The Assam Heritage (Tangible) Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Maintenance Act, 2020']�.�
But, this morning, to their utter dismay, the HeCSA members saw that the workers engaged by a contractor of Cotton University were removing the CI sheets of the official residence of Principal J Barooah in a bid to obliterate this heritage structure. They immediately contacted the Secretary and Commissioner, Cultural Affairs Department Preetom Saikia who asked Archaeology Director Deepirekha Kauli to visit the spot and to bring an end to the process of demolishing this heritage structure. Accordingly, the Archaeology Director visited the site and ensured a halt to the process of demolishing the structure.
Cotton University Vice Chancellor Prof Bhabesh Chandra Goswami could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. However, Registrar of the University Dr Diganta Kumar Das said he was out of station and he would be able to speak on the issue tomorrow only, after going through the relevant papers.