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Demolition of 100-year-old building sparks controversy

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, Jan 13 � Demolition of the about 100-year-old Assam type building of the century-old Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti (KAS) to make room for a three-storey new building of the Samiti, has sparked a controversy. The developments concerning this issue have become confusing, as the KAS members are now divided into two factions.

The KAS is described to be the mother of the Assam State Museum and connected with numerous scholars, most of whom are regarded to be authorities in topics connected with history and oriental studies.

Construction work for the new building in fact started in 2010 and a part of the new building has already been constructed with two rooms and a toilet block. However, this part did not affect the old building.

Former Director General of the National Museum and a renowned museologist Prof R D Choudhury resented the fact that the heritage value of the KAS Assam type building has been overlooked by the office-bearers of the Samiti as well as by the administration. The authorities concerned should have made serious efforts to preserve this heritage building, he said.

Dr N P Dev Choudhury, who allegedly rose to the post of the KAS president through �illegalities,� said an amount of Rs 50 lakh has been extended by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi from the untied fund for construction of the new building and in 2010, 71 pilings, out of the total 120 pilings, for raising the columns of the building, were completed.

Now the district administration of Kamrup (Metro) has assumed the responsibility to construct the ground floor of the building with the said amount and engaged a contractor, he said. It needs mention that a court case is pending on the appointment of Dr Dev Choudhury as president of the Samiti.

Prof Bharati Baruah, general secretary of the old committee headed by Prof Banikanta Sarma, maintained that they have been kept in the dark on the matter of construction of the new building. The old committee has not handed over charge to the committee headed by Dr Dev Choudhury, as the matter is subjudice, she said.

But, GolapTalukdar, the contractor engaged by the district administration, told this correspondent that both the parties were fully aware of the construction activities and they urged him to expedite the construction. He said the contract for construction of the ground floor of the building, which was awarded to him, is scheduled to be completed within the next six months.

However, Prof Bharati Baruah vehemently denied having made any such request to the contractor.

Construction of the Assam type building of the Samiti was completed in August 1917 and it was inaugurated at a meeting presided over by Lt Col PRT Gordon, the Commissioner of Assam Valley. From this building, noted historians and scholars of oriental studies like Mahamohopadhyaya Dhireswar Acharyya, Hem Chandra Goswami, Kanaklal Baruah, Prof Banikanta Kakati, among others, worked for the preservation and promoting research on matters related to archaeology, ethnography, language, literature, history, and culture of the region, which belonged to the ancient kingdom of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa.

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Demolition of 100-year-old building sparks controversy

GUWAHATI, Jan 13 � Demolition of the about 100-year-old Assam type building of the century-old Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti (KAS) to make room for a three-storey new building of the Samiti, has sparked a controversy. The developments concerning this issue have become confusing, as the KAS members are now divided into two factions.

The KAS is described to be the mother of the Assam State Museum and connected with numerous scholars, most of whom are regarded to be authorities in topics connected with history and oriental studies.

Construction work for the new building in fact started in 2010 and a part of the new building has already been constructed with two rooms and a toilet block. However, this part did not affect the old building.

Former Director General of the National Museum and a renowned museologist Prof R D Choudhury resented the fact that the heritage value of the KAS Assam type building has been overlooked by the office-bearers of the Samiti as well as by the administration. The authorities concerned should have made serious efforts to preserve this heritage building, he said.

Dr N P Dev Choudhury, who allegedly rose to the post of the KAS president through �illegalities,� said an amount of Rs 50 lakh has been extended by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi from the untied fund for construction of the new building and in 2010, 71 pilings, out of the total 120 pilings, for raising the columns of the building, were completed.

Now the district administration of Kamrup (Metro) has assumed the responsibility to construct the ground floor of the building with the said amount and engaged a contractor, he said. It needs mention that a court case is pending on the appointment of Dr Dev Choudhury as president of the Samiti.

Prof Bharati Baruah, general secretary of the old committee headed by Prof Banikanta Sarma, maintained that they have been kept in the dark on the matter of construction of the new building. The old committee has not handed over charge to the committee headed by Dr Dev Choudhury, as the matter is subjudice, she said.

But, GolapTalukdar, the contractor engaged by the district administration, told this correspondent that both the parties were fully aware of the construction activities and they urged him to expedite the construction. He said the contract for construction of the ground floor of the building, which was awarded to him, is scheduled to be completed within the next six months.

However, Prof Bharati Baruah vehemently denied having made any such request to the contractor.

Construction of the Assam type building of the Samiti was completed in August 1917 and it was inaugurated at a meeting presided over by Lt Col PRT Gordon, the Commissioner of Assam Valley. From this building, noted historians and scholars of oriental studies like Mahamohopadhyaya Dhireswar Acharyya, Hem Chandra Goswami, Kanaklal Baruah, Prof Banikanta Kakati, among others, worked for the preservation and promoting research on matters related to archaeology, ethnography, language, literature, history, and culture of the region, which belonged to the ancient kingdom of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa.

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