Guwahati Residents Raise Concern Over Geeta Mandir Temple's Decaying Condition
Geeta Mandir Temple in Guwahati is built in the shape of a chariot indicating the Divine Chariot of the Lord Krishna. The temple is situated on top of a small hillock which makes it quite favourable for devotees to visit and pray to Lord Krishna as well as enjoy an outing in the bargain.
The temple is located in Guwahati's Mother Teresa Road atop of a hillock. Such is the relevance of the temple that on the entire stretch of the road from the Zoo Tiniali to Narengi, the highlight of the area is this attractive temple. Or rather, once attractive temple!
Cut to present, the peripheries of the Geeta Mandir Temple has been shrouded in darkness. The road connecting the Mother Teresa uphill to the temple is subjected to abject darkness in the night. None of the streetlights are functional. The temple itself suffers from degradation in the form of cracks and an all encompassing worn out look.
The most to be affected by this are the residents who have to commute to the hill top every evening. Kamala Choudhury is a local who has small shop of prayer essentials. She finds it difficult and dangerous for her family members, especially the women folk, to commute at night. "Our children take tuitions in the city and when they come in late in the evenings, we get worried for them. We have raised the problem so many times but no one listens to us. The monkeys too are a menace and are also responsible for damaging public property," said Choudhury.
The gradual decay of the temple has seen reduced footfall. The few small shops operating in the area have suffered as a result of this. Deepika Devi, who has is an owner of one the shops, told G Plus that the government should look into the matter among other civic issues of the area. Firstly, around 600 people reside in the area. They lack basic amenities such as proper drinking water, streetlights and safety.
A micro understanding of the temple issue
The streetlights installed on the road towards the temple have been demolished. The puja committee members have raised the issue but the situation has not yet been resolved.
Inside the temple, there are visible cracks that can be seen on the walls. The CCTV installed has remained non-functional with wires coming out of the device. The urinal is still under construction. Although the kitchen has been made, there is no drinking water to facilitate the kitchen. The terrace has been constructed with Rs 10 lakh government funds but the temple authorities claim the place needs a total renovation with amounts of more than Rs 1 crore.
G Plus spoke to the chief priest Bipul Goswami of the temple. "I have been here since 2001 and it’s been 17-18 years of transformation. The committee has developed a few things. Under the aegis of Assam Tourism, we have received funds through which the terrace was made. But much more needs to be done and for that we have approached the GMC, GMDA and even our former councillors," said Goswami. As per sources, the former councillor Sashanka Deka made arrangements for the lights, yet the situation didn't get better.
The priest added that the prevailing situation has affected the devotees who visit the temple.
The temple committee has also been subject to scrutiny by a few quarters. However, they claim only the government can solve the issue. G Plus spoke to Kishore Barman, Assistant Secretary of Geeta Samaj. "Our main problem is water and the streetlights. The GMC has not been helpful to us and the renovation didn't last long. The temple is getting old with cracks on it and for that, complete renovation is necessary," said Barman. The temple authorities, in their meetings, have estimated an amount that could bail out the problems of its temple. "We estimate around Rs 1.5 crores for total renovation that will help the people and devotees. We therefore request the government to look into the matter," added Barman.
Taking stock of the matter
Geetanagar has been vulnerable to hard and petty crimes and cases. As such, the lack of proper lighting comes as a grave concern. Over 21 people have been sent to jail over matters of theft and stealing in connection with cases registered under Geetanagar Police Station, Guwahati in the past one month. This was informed to G Plus by Officer-in-Charge (OC) Bipul Boro.
G Plus spoke to the Geetanagar PS regarding the situation of the temple. The official revealed that instances of drugs and anti-socialism have been present at that place. The cases have been reduced only by the repeated patrolling of the police.
Meanwhile, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation has clarified that regarding the streetlight issue, a survey has been done as to the requirements of the area.
Apathy can lead to protest?
The local students’ union in the area has been critical of the government with regard to its apathy towards the temple. G Plus spoke to Jeetumoni Deka, President of Zoo Narengi Chatra Sangstha. "This area is so beautiful but suffers from the negligence of Assam government. Look at the streetlights, they are just there in name," said Deka.
He further stated that over 600 people are affected as a result of such negligence. "There are even miscreants who roam about here. I urge the Assam government to do something about this," added Deka.
The students’ union has rubbished all the assurances given to the people. "Look at the temple, only the outside gate is painted. A big earthquake will definitely break the temple. Our students’ union will protest regarding the matter if it is not solved before the elections," the leader added.