GUWAHATI, Sept 25 - The stretch of road to the Gandhi Mandap, located atop the Sarania Hills where the government is soon going to hoist a flag at a height of 312 feet, has become a haven for various anti-social elements.
�Quite often during my visit to the Gandhi Mandap, I notice some youths (including girls), who are mainly students from various colleges of the city, smoking cigarettes. Their movement seems suspicious to me,� said an official of the Guwahati Smart City Project.
He also alleged that the road to Gandhi Mandap has now become a �dating zone� for the city�s young couples who are sometimes seen in compromising positions. �It is a public place and an attractive tourist spot. But to make the place an attraction for public in true sense, the civic environment of the area should be good,� he added.
Local people of the area alleged that only patrolling done by police is not sufficient to check different anti-social activities thriving in the area. �During the evenings, many youths gather on the road for adda and some of them are drug addicts,� said Naren Deka, a resident of the Gandhi Basti area.
Commenting on the issue, Paltan Bazar Police Station Officer-in-charge Dharani Barman said, �We regularly patrol the entire stretch of this road. Earlier, many persons were picked up on charges of consuming addictive substances. We are doing our best to make the place safe for visitors.�
The Gandhi Mandap is a museum constructed in memory of Mahatma Gandhi. According to government record, Gandhi had visited the hill in 1921 and 1946. The museum was inaugurated by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1970.
Recently, the State government under the smart city mission has taken up the �Refurbishment of Gandhi Mandap� project with the objective of preserving the heritage and historical significance associated with the place.