MAJULI, Sept 8 - Majuli, the world�s largest inhabited river island and a revered seat of Vaishnavite culture, today formally became the State�s 35th district with the opening of the office of the Deputy Commissioner by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at Garamur, while Pallab Gopal Jha, IAS, was appointed as its first Deputy Commissioner.
The State Cabinet, after a threadbare discussion here, decided to implement several schemes for development of Majuli, particularly to prepare a dossier so that the river island can be placed by UNESCO on the World Heritage Site map.
The inauguration of the new district administration office here also coincided with the birth anniversary celebrations of Dr Bhupen Hazarika, who had made great efforts for promotion of Sattriya dance on the national stage.
Addressing thousands of people at the Majuli College playground on the occasion, Chief Minister Sonowal said all his Cabinet colleagues have supported him on the proposal to prepare an effective roadmap for protection and development of the river island, which is enriched with spiritual heritage of more than 35 sattras, besides socio-cultural assimilation of people belonging to various tribes, castes and religions.
�Besides taking many important decisions for the development of Majuli, the State Cabinet today decided to prepare a dossier so that the UNESCO can be convinced for awarding the World Heritage Site tag to Majuli,� said Sonowal.
Today�s Cabinet meeting also decided to prepare and implement a viable mega protection project properly in the river island to control erosion, which is posing a serious threat to its existence. Since 1951, massive erosion has devoured more than half of Majuli�s original land area.
Revealing some important decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting, Minister for Health and Education Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora and Forest and Environment Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, in their speeches, spoke about the work being undertaken for the welfare and development of the new district.
As the Chief Minister in the Cabinet meeting told the Forest Minister to implement necessary measures to protect the lives and agricultural produce from marauding wild elephants in certain resourceful agrarian areas of Majuli, Brahma announced her decision to set up a divisional office of the State Forest Department soon as well as to deploy adequate staff to control the movement of wild elephants. The Cabinet has also decided to adopt three villages of Majuli as model villages, she added.
To maintain proper health and hygiene in the State�s private and public hospitals, a new Act was also proposed to be enacted by the Cabinet. A government college will also be opened at Majuli soon, which will provide free admission to students from the higher secondary level to the masters level, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said, adding all these students will be exempted from admission fees in the universities in the State.
Agriculture Minister Atul Bora also mentioned that some effective measures will be implemented to support the farmers of Majuli.
Meanwhile, the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) today started air-conditioned bus services from Majuli. Daily AC bus service between Majuli and Guwahati has also been introduced, besides starting another bus service for the visitors to the river island. The Chief Minister flagged off the bus service.