GUWAHATI, Feb 26 - Legislators cutting across party lines today stressed the need for concrete measures to preserve and promote the art and culture of Assam, with special emphasis on protecting the arts, cultures and languages of the micro tribes of the State from getting extinct.
Under Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami�s special initiative, the last day of the State Assembly�s budget session today was dedicated to deliberations on the State�s art and culture and their preservation and development.
In a written message to the House, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that when art, culture and sports are integrated with education, then only their preservation would be effective.
Advocating the need for the government�s patronage to organisations working in the field of culture, Congress MLA Ajanta Neog said that though the government has a dedicated Directorate of Cultural Affairs, its role is largely restricted to holding State functions in a centralised manner.
�We have illustrious theatre groups in Jorhat, Ban Theatre of Tezpur, etc., with their infrastructure in place. To revive such organisations, the government has to do some sort of handholding so that they can keep the tradition alive,� she added.
She stressed the need for an institution like the National School of Drama (NSD) in the State, a survey of music schools in rural and urban areas and a kalakshetra for the tea tribe people.
Congress legislator Abdul Khaleque vouched for developing Barpeta as a heritage city keeping in view its rich cultural legacy. He also asked the government to set up a live museum in the State in the line of the one in Singapore.
AIUDF�s Aminul Islam expressed concern at the growing cultural conflicts and suggested that no political decision be taken to threaten any culture or language. He said that the Assamese culture is a melting pot of multiple religions and ethnicities and thus no religious polarisation of this culture should be done.
Bir Bhadra Hagjer of the BJP brought up the issues of the threat to micro tribes of the State due to the influence of big and predominant tribes. He also expressed concern at the growing construction and commercialisation on the Neelachal hillock and condition of the ruins of the ancient Kachari kingdom at Borpathar.
Congress� Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha highlighted the need for regular cultural exchanges between Barak and Brahmaputra valleys.
BJP�s Angoorlata Deka drew the attention of the House to the plight of mobile theatre artistes and technicians and underscored the need for social security, life insurance and due recognition to such people. She lauded the government for a budgetary allocation of Rs 50 crore for restoration of the Batadrava Thaan.
AGP MLA Satyabrat Kalita said that the State government should come up with a holistic policy for preserving and promoting art and culture, which should also encompass areas like drama, theatre, folk music and cinema. He advocated the need for a mandatory primetime screening slot in all the movie halls for Assamese films in the State.
AGP�s Brindaban Goswami suggested that the upcoming cultural university in Majuli be developed as an affiliating body for cultural institutions and that the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra should be developed as the coordinating body for different institutions working in the field of culture.
�We in Assam have different streams of culture. Preservation work should be taken in hand without disturbing the uniqueness and natural flow of each culture and language,� he said.
BJP�s Ranoj Pegu demanded a budget allocation to assist the amateur theatre groups like Jyotirupa, Seagull, etc.
BJP legislator Rupak Sarma also drew the House�s attention to the rampant piracy of Assamese traditional jewellery, which is taking a toll on the local designers.
Among others who participated in the debate were Binanda Saikia, Ganesh Limbu, Mansing Rongpi, Gurujyoti Das, Bhubon Pegu, Gunin Das and Pallab Lochan Das.
Naba Kumar Doley, Minister Cultural Affairs, said the government would incorporate all major points raised by the legislators and prepare a comprehensive report to be presented in the House after 90 days during the monsoon session of the State Assembly.