GUWAHATI, Aug 30 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, during his recent tour to Europe, inaugurated the London office of the Srimanta Sankaradeva International Cultural Centre, London (SSICCL), on the eve of his departure to India, a press release received have stated.
The temporary office of the SSICCL located at 59 Aspects Court, Windsor Road, Slough Berkshire, SL1 2EZ is 15 minutes drive from the Heathrow Airport. It hs been given free of charge for use by Dr Karuna Sagar and Arundhati Das and their daughters Pranami and Papori till a permanent office is established. In addition to the office room, there is a double bedroom in which visitors from Assam can stay at concessionary rates. The surplus proceeds will go to the SSICCL. Bookings can be done via e-mail at karuna_das @yahoo.com (telephone no. (44)7871931593).
In reply to a memorandum submitted by the management committee of the SSICCL, Gogoi expressed satisfaction over the initiative taken by the Assamese diaspora in the UK and urged them to work hard and offer all possible help to bring the project to fruition in due course.
The memorandum, outlining the past activities and future plans, was prepared and presented by Gagon Hazarika, the adviser of SSICCL and read out by Puspa Hazarika. The plan was to acquire a suitable building in London or alternatively, a plot of land around the Heathrow Airport to build the required accommodation and facilities. The facilities planned include an auditorium with a stage for at least 200 people, two 30-people function and conference rooms for the community�s use which can also be hired out to third parties, a fully-equipped library on Sankardeva literature together with museum and art gallery, an all-faith prayer hall, lounge, canteen-kitchen, guest rooms, boys and girls� dormitories, public conveniences, offices and car parking facilities. While function rooms will be hired out, the guest rooms will be made available to visitors and students from Assam and the North-east at concessionary rates. They also wish to make provisions for facilities for use by the Government of Assam and any NGOs based in Assam, if wished, within the proposed building complex.
The estimated cost of the proposed facility at today�s rates is approximately Rs 46 crore. Owing to the small number of diaspora in the UK, it will be impossible for them solely to fund this mega project. They proposed, in addition to donations and contributions from the diaspora, holding of charity fund raising events.
Further, they plan to go to their homeland, hoping that the national and multinational business houses operating in Assam and the members of the public will contribute and donate generously. This includes an appeal to the Government of India in due course. In the mean time, voluntary donations are being received both in Assam and the UK and banked in HSBC in London and SBI in Guwahati.
The memorandum went on to say that the proposal should receive due consideration from the Government of Assam and it will be hopefully generous enough to sanction a sum of at least Rs 2 crore. This will not only help build up the funds required, but also inspire the organisers in making their dream materialise.
Furthermore, the Chief Minister�s help will be indispensable when the delegation visits Assam with an appeal for donations. His endorsement and forwarding of the appeal to relevant quarters including the Government of India will be helpful in order that prospective donors do not hesitate to write cheques in contribution to the cause.
The memorandum explained that the SSICCL will be a charitable trust in order to derive due concessions from the UK authorities.