TEZPUR, April 11: The historically significant town of Tezpur is today a picture of utter neglect.
Considered as the State’s culture capital and a popular tourist destination, Tezpur is fast losing its past glory as it is afflicted with the malaise of encroachment on wetlands and government land, deteriorating civic amenities, haphazard construction, traffic woes, so on and so forth.
Due to an alleged unholy nexus among a section of unscrupulous builders, government officials and land mafia, wetlands and plots of vacant government land under the Tezpur revenue circle have been encroached upon and commercial as well as residential buildings are being constructed in those areas in a haphazard manner.
An ill-maintained traffic system and a lack of proper waste disposal measures, especially at the tourist spots, are spoiling the beauty of the town, which is endowed with unique natural surroundings and sites of archeological and mythological significance such as Agnigarh hillock, Chitralekha Udyan (previously known as Cole Park), Owguri hillock, Dalimi Pahar (an archeological site), Ganesh Ghat, Bam-Parbatia stone archway, Rudrapad, and Ketakeshwar Dewalaya.
“Wetlands that serve as a natural drainage system of the town have now become wastelands due to human depredation,” rued noted environmentalist Saurav Barkataki.
For the sorry state of affairs, he blamed the administration’s alleged failure to rein in those involved in the illegal activities.
Barkataki urged the district administration to intervene immediately for the sake of restoring the past glory of the historic town.
The wetlands in the heart of the town serve as natural drainage basins and play a key role in preventing waterlogging during the rainy season.
Earlier, denizens of Tezpur had never experienced major civic problems like waterlogging, but nowadays due to the gradual encroachment on the wetlands, the town has begun experiencing this problem.
There have been allegations that a rift between civic bodies like Tezpur Municipal Board and Town Development Authority is also posing hurdles in the efforts to develop the town and improve its civic amenities.