TEZPUR, July 31 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal presented Natasurya Phani Sarma Award for the year 2020 to renowned theatre artistes Aishwarya Kakati and Bhabesh Baruah at a function held at the historic Baan Theatre in Tezpur today. The award comprises a sarai, commendation, man bastra and a cheque of Rs 2 lakh each.
Speaking at the function organised by the Cultural Affairs Department in association with Sonitpur district administration, the Chief Minister said that a financial outlay of Rs 1.5 crore has been earmarked for the preservation of the samadhi kshetra of Natasurya Phani Sarma. He also announced that the State government would set up a museum in memory of the cultural doyens like Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Natasurya Phani Sarma and Dr Bhupen Hazarika.
The recipients of the award, Aishwarya Kakati and Bhabesh Baruah also spoke about their experiences on the occasion.
Kakati said that the artistes produced food for the soul and their creations provide a source of peace and harmony to the society. Bhabesh Baruah, speaking on the occasion, expressed his gratitude to some of the personalities who acted as a driving force to his life and art and he dedicated the award in the name of mobile theatre.
Kakoti started his journey in the theatre world in 1969 and also acted in Natasurya�s play Amuthi chawl, besides others. He also contributed to the mobile theatre and established himself in the national level theatre world. Many of his plays were staged in Germany, Croatia, Switzerland, New Delhi and Turkey.
On the other hand, noted actor Bhabesh Baruah performed in two plays while he was working at the Directorate of Culture of the State government and directed and performed in almost all the theatre groups of Assam, including Kohinoor, Abahan, Aparupa, Bordoisila and Bhagyadevi.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State (i/c) for Cultural Affairs Naba Kumar Doley said the Government of Assam has taken adequate steps in giving due recognition to art and artistes across the State. He also said that for the renovation of the historic Baan Theatre, the State government has adopted a project worth Rs 2.20 crore. Moreover, a Cultural University in Majuli along with a bouquet of other projects were taken up by the government for the promotion of the rich and colourful culture of the State.
Stating that the number of artiste pensioners increased to 85, a one-time financial assistance of Rs 50,000 each was given to 2,000 artistes.
Various organisations like Tezpur Sahitya Sabha, Baan Theatre, Sonitpur Journalists� Union, Sonitpur Press Club, etc., also organised commemoration programmes.