Bezbaroa house: Odisha releases Rs 50 L for renovation

R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, Oct 31 – The Odisha government today released an amount of Rs 50 lakh for renovation of the house of Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa in Sambalpur. The Odisha government’s action came after the Assam Cultural Affairs Minister Naba Kumar Doley and Chief Minister’s media adviser Hrishikesh Goswami had a meeting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar this morning.Meanwhile, the Assam government is planning to buy the house in Kolkata where Dr Bhupen Hazarika created most of his popular songs so that it can be developed as a cultural centre.

Talking to The Assam Tribune after meeting the Odisha Chief Minister, an elated Goswami said that their trip to Odisha turned out to be a very successful one as “the Assam government was able to take action to protect the house of the Sahityarathi, which was about to be demolished for a road construction project. We were overwhelmed by the response that we received from the Odisha government, particularly from the Chief Minister.”

Goswami said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is likely to visit Odisha in December to have a detailed discussion with Patnaik to chalk out plans to convert the house of the Sahityarathi to a literary and cultural complex.

Giving details of their visit to Odisha to persuade the government of that state not to demolish the house of the Sahityarathi, Goswami said they had meetings with the Sambalpur district magistrate, Odisha Chief Secretary as well as Cultural Affairs Minister Ashok Panda before meeting Patnaik this morning. “Patnaik said he has very high regards for the Sahityarathi and the house would not be demolished. He also stressed the need for converting the house into a cultural complex and released an amount of Rs 50 lakh immediately for renovation of the house. He told us that he already had discussion with the Assam Chief Minister on the issue and we handed him over the letter written by Sonowal,” he said.

Goswami said yesterday they visited the house of the Sahityarathi and had a meeting with Sambalpur district magistrate Samarth Verma. Several non-government organisations and prominent citizens of the area, including journalists, supported the move of the Assam government to protect the house. Verma told the Assam government team that instructions would be issued to the Odisha PWD to have consultations with architects so that alignment of the proposed road can be changed to protect the house of the Sahityarathi.

Meanwhile, Sonowal has also directed Doley and Goswami to meet the present owner of the Kolkata house where Dr Bhupen Hazarika stayed for decades. The officials of the Assam House, Kolkata, have also been directed to get in touch with the present owner of the house so that Doley and Goswami can meet him tomorrow to persuade him to sell the house to the Assam government.

Dr Hazarika stayed in the house at 77 Golf Course Road, Tollygunge for decades since the middle of the 1950s. But the house was sold off when he was sick and shifted his base to Mumbai.

Goswami said the Assam government is planning to buy the house from the present owner so that it can be developed into a memorial-cum-cultural complex. “We will try our best to persuade the present owner to sell the house to the Assam government,” Goswami added.

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