SILCHAR, Sept 6 - Amidst rising protests by Congress and other cultural associations, Silchar Municipality Board went ahead with the foundation-laying ceremony of the latest project of giving a facelift to Gandhibag park here on Thursday.
Minister of State for Urban Development Pijush Hazarika laid the foundation stone and expressed the commitment of the government in bringing about the much-needed changes across the state.
�We must be progressive in our thoughts and shun regressive hurdles towards development. This is a project for amusement park designed on the PPP mode and shall be completed within 2021. We are aware of the environmental issues and not a single tree within the park would be cut or damaged,� the Minister maintained.
However, he was quick to take a dig at former Silchar MP Sushmita Dev who was seen giving vent to her anger alleging the civic board of being anarchical in respecting public views. �If anyone has any issue, we are ready for dialogue. But staging protests on the road and putting objections on developmental works shall take us backwards,� he added.
NN Tagore, chairman of the Silchar civic board narrated the vision of the board in ushering in a major transformation of Silchar.
It may be mentioned here that the decision by the Silchar Municipal Board to beautify the premises of Gandhibag, the lone park within the municipal area with an amusement park and a four-star hotel has entered into a vortex of controversy over environmental concerns.
A day before the ceremonial foundation stone laying ceremony of the said project, Congress commissioners in the civic board assembled at Silchar District Congress office to vent their anger on the headstrong decision of the BJP-led board and termed the move to construct a multi-storied building as an invasion into the greenery of the premises.
Former Municipal chairman and now a ward commissioner Tamal Kanti Banik said, �All of us want development of the park. But why to destroy the greenery with a concrete building. Have they taken Environment Impact Assessment permit? Greenery of the Gandhibag park is the major source of oxygen for residents within the proximity of central part of Silchar and we shall not allow any invasion or attempt to destroy the greenery.�
All India Mahila Congress chief and former chairperson of the civic board Sushmita Dev questioned the present chairman NN Tagore�s intent in representing the people of the town. In her words, Tagore is the first citizen of the town by virtue of his post and, hence, he must have amassed opinions of the people before going ahead with such a major decision. �We are not against improvement and betterment of the park. But we shall not tolerate any attempt to dupe the people of the town. The decision to construct the mall and a four star hotel was taken keeping the Board in the dark. It also violates Section 63(2) of the Assam Municipal Act 1956. The chairman must make it public whether the land would be given on lease or in the licencing pattern,� she quipped.
She recalled a similar situation during her tenure as chairperson and claimed that she had dropped the idea considering the environmental concerns.