Gogoi pushes for World Heritage tag for Assam river island

Guwahati, May 14 : Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Saturday appealed for coordinated efforts to ensure that the state's river island Majuli is included in the Unesco's World Heritage Site list.

"Majuli is the lifeline of Assamese culture and a pride of the state. Its distinct Sankari (Vaishnavite) religion and culture together with its unique geographical location has given Majuli a pride of place not only in the state but also outside," Gogoi said.

"Every effort must be made to bring the unique riverine island and the seat of Vaishnavite culture to the centre stage by ensuring that it gets Unesco's World Heritage Site tag this time," said Gogoi while speaking at a seminar on "Majuli's Cultural Landscape - Heritage Value - Future" held here.

Assam has been vying for enlisting the river island as a heritage site since 2004 but losing out either due to lack of technical details in the dossier or non-compliance of Unesco's set rules.

The seminar was organised by the Majuli Cultural Landscape Management Authority (MCLMA) to discuss with various stakeholders the preparation of a fresh dossier to be submitted to the World Heritage Committee of the Unesco for the much coveted tag.

The MCLMA, this time, has engaged renowned conservationist and architect G.S.V.S. Murthy to prepare a fault free dossier.

Gogoi stressed that the resource persons must see to it that the conditions as laid out by the World Heritage Committee for getting the World Heritage tag are fulfilled this time.

"It's not so easy a task to get the World Heritage Site tag as there will be stiff competition from different countries, who would equally vie for getting the honour. Every effort must be put in by the resource persons and the satradhikars (heads of the Vaishnavite monasteries) to fulfill the criteria to get the World Heritage tag this time," he said.

Gogoi also appreciated the good work of the experts and resource persons who prepared the dossier all these years, and said that the government may send resource persons for a face-to-face interaction with the members of the World Heritage Committee so that Majuli's case can be presented in proper perspective.

Gogoi also appealed to the people in the river island to keep intact its unique eco-system and bio-diversity and said this would help Majuli in achieving the much coveted Unesco tag.