November 5, 2014 4:18:18 pm
Even as Assam paid rich tributes to Bhupen Hazarika on his third death anniversary today, the Assam government renewed its plea for a Bharat Ratna to the legendary singer, musician, poet and filmmaker, with chief minister Tarun Gogoi saying a fresh proposal has been sent to the Centre in this regard.
“Bhupen Hazarika deserved a Bharat Ratna long ago. We have been pressing the Centre for conferring the highest award on him for several years. We have sent a fresh proposal again,” Chief Minister Gogoi said during a function at the site where Hazarika was cremated three years ago. The Assam State Assembly had earlier passed a resolution twice requesting the Centre to confer Bharat Ratna on him. Hazarika was conferred the Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 2012.
Gogoi however could not satisfy Hazarika’s fans and admirers on why the construction of a befitting memorial to the most well-known Assamese had not taken off despite several deadlines. The state government, which had earmarked Rs 10 crore for the Hazarika memorial in early 2013 had set November 2014 as the deadline for completion of the memorial. In reality, however not even five per cent work has been completed.
“Projects do get delayed. The Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra construction too was delayed. The Siu-Ka-Pha Khetra construction has not been completed even after seven years,” Gogoi, who had in August last year directed officials to complete the project as early as possible, said.
The proposed Bhupen Hazarika memorial will be a two-storied structure with a library, an auditorium and an audio-visual room. An open air theatre and a pen-shaped aluminium silhouetted statue of Hazarika along with a musical fountain are also on the cards.
Meanwhile, Asam Sahitya Sabha, the highest literary body of Assam today named noted filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan for the second Bhupen Hazarika International Integrity award. To be given away in March next year in Guwahati, the award carries a cash amount of Rs five lakh, a citation and a memento. Given once in two years, the first winner of this award was Lubna Mariam, well-known dance exponent and writer of Bangladesh.
Coinciding with his third death anniversary, the Assam government today unveiled a new project of establishing open-air stages in the memory of Bhupen Hazarika in all the 219 development blocks of the state. To be built at a cost of Rs 25 lakh each, these open-air stages would also have a park alongside.
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