GUWAHATI, Sept 21 - Acting on a petition by a city-based advocate Nayan Moni Hazarika, the Prime Minister�s Office, New Delhi, has asked the Chief Secretary of Assam to take �appropriate action� for preservation of the historic Namdang stone bridge in Sivasagar district, which is showing signs of wear and tear caused by increasing vehicular traffic.
The proposed four-lane conversion of NH-37 along that stretch has evoked serious apprehension that the resultant increase in vehicular movement could cause irreparable damage to the historic 300-year-old bridge built under the patronage of the great Ahom King Rudra Singha in 1703.
Located a few kms from Sivasagar town, the bridge over river Namdang was chiselled from a single piece of rock. The bridge which is 60-metre long, 6.5-metres wide and 1.7-metre tall, is a massive structure with many culverts and embossed images. An archaeological marvel and among the best-known historic monuments of Assam, the bridge has withstood three great earthquakes in the past three centuries.
�As the bridge falls on NH-37, it is showing signs of wear and tear following the constant burden of vehicular traffic, including heavily-loaded trucks. Now, with the stretch to be converted to a four-lane highway, vehicular movement will intensify. Unless the NH-37 is diverted in that portion and the stone bridge preserved properly, it is very likely that the bridge will be damaged irreparably and the State will lose its heritage,� advocate Nayan Moni Hazarika said in his petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Significantly, as cement was not in use in Assam during the Ahom days, a paste of Bora rice, egg, black lentil and lime was used in the construction of the bridge.
�The people of Assam will be grateful if you do the needful to preserve the bridge and the adjacent area as a historical place,� Hazarika said in his petition.