GUWAHATI, Dec 17 – Accusing the Government of “wilfully and systematically” destroying the immense tourism potential of the State, public activist Prof Deven Dutta today said that ever since the natural ambience of the historic Sivasagar and Joysagar tanks was eroded following introduction of engine-driven fun boats and installation of artificial water sprouts, large congregations of migratory birds stopped visiting the sites.
“The Sivasagar and Joysagar tanks have been a traditional hub of innumerable birds including different migratory species during every winter. Regrettably, under the initiative of the local MLA and then Sericulture Minister Pranab Gogoi and then Tourism Minister Rockybul Hussain, a totally uncalled-for change was effected in the form of motor-boats, water sprouts and a stage in the middle of water. This had a deterring impact on the arrival of birds, and the last few years have hardly seen any avian footfall,” Prof Dutta said in a statement.
Stating that nothing could be a more telling commentary on the lack of vision on the part of the State’s so-called leaders than their attempts at promoting tourism by destroying the natural environment of the historic sites and banishing the birds, Prof Dutta added that the recent past had witnessed many an act of utter insensitiveness and foolishness on the part of the Government to the detriment of tourism growth.
Prof Dutta said that for the Government, tourism was all about Kaziranga and its rhinos, which was evident from the neglect meted out to many places and sites of archaeological and historical significance.
“The pathetic state of ramparts like Momai Kota Garh, Pratap Garh, Rajgarh, Numali Garh, Chamodhara Garh, and other relics like the stone bridge on the river Namdang, etc., bears testimony to the vandalism being perpetrated on the State’s monuments,” Prof Dutta said.
Prof Dutta also criticised Tourism Minister Chandan Brahma and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for their “total inaction” in preserving the monuments and relics as those were like “disposable tea cups” for them.
Questioning the commitment of the Government in promoting wildlife tourism, Prof Dutta said that the spurt in the depressing news of straying wild animals including elephants, tigers, leopards, etc., getting killed by humans due to rapidly diminishing forest cover presented a situation in stark contrast.
Prof Dutta further said that the banishing of history and geography from the school syllabus was having far-reaching consequences on the State’s social life.