GUWAHATI: Independent Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi on Tuesday demanded that the government declare the historical city of Sivasagar, which is also his constituency, as a ‘State Heritage Site’.
He also sought Rs 100 crore for the development of the city, the erstwhile capital of the Ahom kings who ruled Assam for more than 600 years before the advent of the British.
Raising the issue during the Members’ Hour in the ongoing budget session of the assembly, Gogoi said that there are 551 historical monuments or sites dated back to the Ahom kingdom scattered around Sivasagar.
“Such concentration of historical monuments at one place is rare in the entire world. Sivasagar is our pride and it was included in the probable list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO in 2019,” he said.
Scores of domestic and international tourists come to visit the place and highly appreciate the place because of its unique architectural marvels, the Raijor Dal president said.
“Therefore, I request the Assam government to declare Sivasagar as a State Heritage Site or City under various existing rules. This will lead to preservation and promotion of our ancient monuments,” Gogoi said.
The declaration of the city as a ‘State Heritage Site’ will also fit into the criteria of UNESCO as announced in 1972, the MLA of Sivasagar claimed.
“I request the government to invest Rs 100 crore in Sivasagar for its development. I assure you we will contribute Rs 1,000 crore revenue to the state exchequer in return,” he said.
Reacting to his demand, Cultural Affairs Minister Bimal Bora said that Sivasagar has the potential to become not only a State Heritage Site but also a World Heritage Site.
“We have been working for the development of Sivasagar since the last BJP government came to power. The work will not be over only by declaring it as a State Heritage Site. We will have to discuss it with the people of Sivasagar,” he said.
As the minister did not specifically comment on the demand of the legislator, Gogoi sought to know whether the government will declare Sivasagar as a State Heritage Site.
Bora said, “You need money for Sivasagar, isn’t it? Only Rs 100 crore cannot solve Sivasagar’s problems. We will do more than that.”
Sivasagar, earlier known as Rangpur, is situated 363 km east of Guwahati.
The most remarkable landscape of the town is the 200- year-old Sivasagar tank. Its unique feature is that the water level is above the level of the town.
There are three temples on its banks — Shivadol, Vishnudol and Devidol — all built by Queen Madambika, the wife of Ahom king Sutanphaa or Shiva Singha, in 1734.
The Shivadol is one of the tallest Shiva temples in India with a height of 104 feet.
Joysagar, 5 km outside the Sivasagar town, is the biggest man-made tank in the country with an area of over 318 acres.
Sivasagar is also famous for ‘Talatal Ghar’ and ‘Rang Ghar’. The seven-storied ‘Talatal Ghar’ was built as an Ahom army base with its three floors constructed below the ground.
The ‘Rang Ghar’, an amphitheatre, was built by King Pramatta Singha.
This two-storied oval-shaped pavilion is one of the largest of its kind in Asia.
Today’s Sivasagar is a fast developing urban settlement and is the headquarters of the Sivasagar district, a leading tea and oil producing centre.