Culture enthusiasts save ICCR from shutting down
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Culture enthusiasts save ICCR from shutting down

Saumya Mishra | June 08, 2018 15:51 hrs

GUWAHATI: The central government had to give in to the plea of culture enthusiasts from Guwahati and stayed the shutting down of the Guwahati regional office of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) recently.

The ICCR functions under the ministry of external affairs, Government of India. The central government had planned to merge the Guwahati regional office with the Shillong regional office about a month ago which caused widespread discontent among lovers of culture. 
   
The government had decided to merge all regional offices across India, barring only ten. The Guwahati centre, which is situated in Panjabari Road, was established in 2009. 

Swapnanil Barua, retired IAS officer and former commissioner & secretary of the cultural affairs department told G Plus, “After great persuasion to the former President Pranab Mukherjee, who was the then minister of external affairs, we set up the centre in 2009 and found a space at the Shilpgram complex and established the office which allowed for artists to learn and grow from Assam and the entire northeast.” 

He added that the regional centre served as an important cultural destination in the state to promote local artists as well.
 
Further, the ICCR also allows for 200 foreign students to come to Guwahati and learn about the cultural heritage of various art forms related to the northeast which is rich in cultural diversity. 

“If the centre was closed down, all these would get affected and Assam would have been deprived of the talented international artists. Before the ICCR centre was established here, no international artists used to come to perform in Assam,” informed Barua.

Officials said that after receiving the news about the merger of the Guwahati branch with that of Shillong, they decided to take up the matter with officials from the Assam government. Eventually, the issue was brought to the attention of the chief minister and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who eventually agreed to stay the shutting down of the Guwahati branch after receiving a letter from the chief minister, informed sources.

For box:

•    The central government had to give in and decided to stay the shutting down of the Guwahati ICCR centre

•    The government decided to merge many regional offices across the country barring 10

•    Culture enthusiasts felt that the shutting down of the centre would have an adverse impact on the cultural heritage of Assam and the northeast    

•    The ICCR functions under the ministry of external affairs, Government of India

•    The central government had planned to merge the Guwahati regional office with the Shillong regional office about a month ago

•    It caused widespread discontent among lovers of culture

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