GUWAHATI, Aug 12 - City-based conservation body Heritage Conservation Society of Assam (HeCSA) has hailed the announcement made by the State government that it would not go by the recommendation of the 7th Pay and Productivity Pay Commission for closure of the 91-year-old Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies (DHAS) as a very positive proclamation.
The Higher Education (Technical) Department of the State said in a letter (No ATE, 18/2005/Pt/20) to the Commissioner and Secretary of the Administrative Reforms and Training Department that it had carefully analysed the recommendation of the 7th Pay and Productivity Pay Commission made in its para 4.1(c) that the above directorate be closed and their works be entrusted to the department concerned and approved that the directorate may continue as it is. It further stated that this decision had the approval of the Chief Minister, too.
When the recommendation of the 7th Pay Commission to close the DHAS became public, the HeCSA was the first organisation to voice its indignation over the recommendation. It made an appeal to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to initiate steps to nurture, rejuvenate and strengthen the DHAS by filling up all its sanctioned posts. Further, it called for urgent steps to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for extending financial and other supports from the Union Government to the DHAS for its protection, preservation and promotion into a national institute under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
The above recommendation of the Pay Commission also faced opposition from different quarters, including leading intellectuals of the State.
The DHAS, set up in 1928, is scheduled to celebrate its centenary in 2028. Over the last nine decades of its existence, the DHAS, a rare institution of its type in the country, has emerged as a treasure house of countless invaluable books, historical records, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, etc.
Many scholars from different parts of the country and the rest of the globe have been using the rare manuscripts and other historical records preserved by it for scholarly pursuits. The DHAS building was built in 1936, with a donation of Rs 10,000 made by Raibahadur Radhakanta Handiqui, and personalities like Dr Surya Kanta Bhuyan, Dr BK Baruah, AHW Bentinck, JP Mills, Maulavi Abul Fazal Syed Ahmed, Dr PC Choudhury, KN Dutta and many others were actively associated with it.