Renovation of city spots a must before PiggyChops starts selling Assam
Tourism is a major social phenomenon of the modern society. It’s not only about a place of entertainment but a significant agent that accelerates the economic development of a particular location.
For many people in India, the north eastern region of the nation still revolves around the city of Guwahati. The city that’s been hugging the shores of the turbulent Brahmaputra and carries glorious history plays a major role in enhancing the tourism potential of the entire state of Assam – a fact that cannot be undermined.
Despite the immense tourism potential that the city carries, it is saddening that Guwahati is failing even on the domestic tourism front. While most of the cities in India have utilized its resources to promote tourism, Guwahati seems to be limping behind with the state management and public still unaware of its enormous tourism potential emanating from its natural endowments that can be harnessed in a sustainable manner.
Five randomly chosen spots that demand immediate renovation are discussed below.
1. Northbrook Gate - The historic Northbrook Gate - a landmark that was created during the British era - has virtually turned into ruins lately. What was once popularly known as the lone piece of brick architecture in the city now faces serious threats to its existence. The Northbrook Gate, despite being located in the heart of the city, is battling against all odds, and no authority seems to be stepping in to save the historical monument. The brick structure that was built during the 19th century now lies in a deplorable condition; parts of the walls reveal the red bricks resulting from the plaster peeling off. Multiple cracks have developed at various parts of the structure indicating that it is getting weaker with time and requires immediate repair and renovation. The structure dates back to the time when Lord Northbrook came to visit Assam but people are hardly aware of the historical significance of the spot. With all the worrying signs of damage in and around the structure, it is obvious that without immediate restoration, Northbrook Gate will soon need to be pulled down before a part of it collapses causing injury or other damage.
2. Deepor Beel – The lone Ramsar site of Assam which is of immense ecological significance for the city is a mute testimony to the havoc that unbridled urbanization and human greed has caused to the environment. Situated very much within the city limits, the Deepor Beel wetlands are now plagued by multiple ills which need to be addressed at the earliest. The once pristine ecosystem of the city has now been pushed to the brink by illegal encroachment, large scale accumulation of wastes from the industries, uneven fishing practices, invasion of aquatic weeds, siltation from the nearby hills, and construction of the railway line. The major water storage basin of Guwahati, which is a rich hub of various species of birds, has become the worst victim of water-logging lately. The shabby condition of the wetland at present proves that the successive state governments have remained oblivious to the need of preserving the biodiversity spot.
3. Assam State Zoo – The Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden, which is one of the most prominent and popular tourist spots of the city, has been lately struggling in many aspects to return to its old glory. The zoo, which was once a significant spot of tourist attraction with nearly 800 species of animals, now lies in a pathetic condition with empty cages, a handful of animals and birds, and a botanical garden that stands there for no one’s sake. Overall, since the past few years, the Assam State Zoo has lost its diversity and charisma. Although recently the state government has undertaken a master plan project for the development of the zoo, it would call for adequate amount of funds from the government.
4. Bhupen Hazarika Samadhi Khetra – Even as the Assamese people paid rich tributes to the legendary artist as he lay in his coffin at the Judges’ Field, five years after his death his memorial at Jalukbari remains an unattractive tourism proposition. The memorial, which did not even complete one year, is already fighting the ills of the Jalukbari pollution. The memorial of Bhupen Hazarika was proposed to house not only the works of the artist but a glimpse of the entire Assamese culture that was defined through the course of Bhupen Hazarika’s contributions. Sadly, in recent times, the entrance of the memorial is a chaotic situation with an authorized public transport stoppage ruling the roost thwarting interested visitors from even attempting a visit to the site. For a city that holds the key to the tourism significance of the entire region, deplorable condition of such an important tourist spot is a matter of disgrace.
5. Shankardev Uddyan – Shankardev Uddyan, is one of the spots of the city from where the enthralling beauty of the mighty Brahmaputra River can be appreciated. The once green and beautiful park is now under the grasp of modernism and industrialization. The park that is situated right on the main MG Road road at Bharalumukh has lost its charm due to the constant exposure to incessant polluting elements. The park is one of the prime items taken under the Riverfront Beautification Project by GMDA. But sadly, adding to the already existing woes that have led the beauty of the park to perish, the management is also failing to take any necessary steps for restoring the place and its beauty.
With the tourism department focusing much on “Awesome Assam” and trying to introduce big names in the industry, the deplorable condition of such significant places within the city could just render in vain all the efforts. Guwahati is the gateway to the north-eastern states. The city needs a perspective in tourism planning where the strengths of each element and tourist spot complement each other. Mere film stars and brand ambassadors will not result in successful tourist flow if the city’s main spots are not maintained in spic and span condition.