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Kamakhya temple�s existence under threat

By The Assam Tribune
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GUWAHATI, Aug 5 � Nestled amongst the picturesque Nilachal hill atop Guwahati city, the world famous Kamakhya temple, the centre of Shakti cult, is in danger due to illegal encroachments and indiscriminate settlements of land, reports PTI.

�It goes without saying that being the foremost amongst the 51 Shaktipeethas, the deity of Kamakhya is one of the most venerated Goddess not only in the country but throughout the world, but today the Nilachal hills and the Durgasarobar areas wherein the very history of the entire region took shape is beleaguered,� says Naba Kanta Sarma, secretary, Kamakhya Debutter board.

�The temple is beleaguered by a host of very serious problems, the main being illegal encroachments and indiscriminate settlement of land within these areas which is threatening the very existence of the shrine,� Sarma said during an interview to PTI at the temple premises.

Unless and untill the people rise up unitedly to save this heritage site, it may be too late and will become a part of history, he says.

The situation has become all the more complicated with the presence of innumerable temples scattered all over the Nilachal hills and according to an estimate by the Archaeological Survey of India, there probably existed more than a hundered some time in the past, he said.

Since Goddess Kamakhya is one of the most venerated in the area, vast tracts of land were settled in Her favour throughout the ages by various rulers for maintenance of the shrine.

The quantum of such lands is about 45,000 bighas, out of which an approximate area of 35,000 bighs were agricultural lands including fisheries and rest comprised the Nilachal hills comprising the three hills of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

The management of the temple used to operate on the income derived from these land till the first Assam Acquisition of Lands belonging to Religious and Charitable institutions came into force in which the lands of the temple were to be acquired by the deputy commissioner of the district collector.

As against this acquisition, the government is required to pay compensation, but a period of 35 years have elapsed since the lands were acquired and for reasons best known to the State, neither retainable area has been demarcated nor has the compensation been determined, says Sarma.

�Without demarcating the lands, which were lawfully to be retained by the Debutter, the revenue officials undertook the preparation of demarcation in a fraudulent way,� he says.

The Kamakhya management has challenged the �highly arbritrary� manner of demarcation and approached the Gauhati High court which has passed an order staying settlement operations, he says.

�Being unable to wriggle out of its predicament, the district administration is taking recourse to dubious means for keeping its misdeeds under wraps by forcible attempting to even take over the management of the Debutter,� Sarma said.

�Once the management goes into the hands of the district administration, the difficult questions raised by the Debutter board would never have to be answered as the questioning body itself would be dead and buried,� he feared.

�Be that as it may, the management has undertaken several positive steps to set right the wrongs and accordingly a master plan for comprehensive development of the entire endowment has been formulated,� he said.

Instantly, core areas have been identified and works relating to renovation, cleanliness, roads, water supply, drainage, electrification, preservation of antiquities, public grounds and conservation of biodiversity have been started, says Sarma.

Among the achievement of the board is installation of air conditioning system inside the temple but the system had to be upgraded and the authorities are planning to involve corporate houses.

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Kamakhya temple�s existence under threat

GUWAHATI, Aug 5 � Nestled amongst the picturesque Nilachal hill atop Guwahati city, the world famous Kamakhya temple, the centre of Shakti cult, is in danger due to illegal encroachments and indiscriminate settlements of land, reports PTI.

�It goes without saying that being the foremost amongst the 51 Shaktipeethas, the deity of Kamakhya is one of the most venerated Goddess not only in the country but throughout the world, but today the Nilachal hills and the Durgasarobar areas wherein the very history of the entire region took shape is beleaguered,� says Naba Kanta Sarma, secretary, Kamakhya Debutter board.

�The temple is beleaguered by a host of very serious problems, the main being illegal encroachments and indiscriminate settlement of land within these areas which is threatening the very existence of the shrine,� Sarma said during an interview to PTI at the temple premises.

Unless and untill the people rise up unitedly to save this heritage site, it may be too late and will become a part of history, he says.

The situation has become all the more complicated with the presence of innumerable temples scattered all over the Nilachal hills and according to an estimate by the Archaeological Survey of India, there probably existed more than a hundered some time in the past, he said.

Since Goddess Kamakhya is one of the most venerated in the area, vast tracts of land were settled in Her favour throughout the ages by various rulers for maintenance of the shrine.

The quantum of such lands is about 45,000 bighas, out of which an approximate area of 35,000 bighs were agricultural lands including fisheries and rest comprised the Nilachal hills comprising the three hills of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

The management of the temple used to operate on the income derived from these land till the first Assam Acquisition of Lands belonging to Religious and Charitable institutions came into force in which the lands of the temple were to be acquired by the deputy commissioner of the district collector.

As against this acquisition, the government is required to pay compensation, but a period of 35 years have elapsed since the lands were acquired and for reasons best known to the State, neither retainable area has been demarcated nor has the compensation been determined, says Sarma.

�Without demarcating the lands, which were lawfully to be retained by the Debutter, the revenue officials undertook the preparation of demarcation in a fraudulent way,� he says.

The Kamakhya management has challenged the �highly arbritrary� manner of demarcation and approached the Gauhati High court which has passed an order staying settlement operations, he says.

�Being unable to wriggle out of its predicament, the district administration is taking recourse to dubious means for keeping its misdeeds under wraps by forcible attempting to even take over the management of the Debutter,� Sarma said.

�Once the management goes into the hands of the district administration, the difficult questions raised by the Debutter board would never have to be answered as the questioning body itself would be dead and buried,� he feared.

�Be that as it may, the management has undertaken several positive steps to set right the wrongs and accordingly a master plan for comprehensive development of the entire endowment has been formulated,� he said.

Instantly, core areas have been identified and works relating to renovation, cleanliness, roads, water supply, drainage, electrification, preservation of antiquities, public grounds and conservation of biodiversity have been started, says Sarma.

Among the achievement of the board is installation of air conditioning system inside the temple but the system had to be upgraded and the authorities are planning to involve corporate houses.

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